Arusha, March 10, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday was compelled to adjourn the defence case of genocide-accused and former Rwandan Minister of Youth, Callixte Nzabonimana to March 21, after running short of witnesses.

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According to the ICTR registry, the defence had so far called a total of 34 witnesses of whom seven presented their evidence this session, which commenced on February 28, 2011.

The accused is facing five charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. He denied the charges.

Most of the defence witnesses gave their evidence in closed sessions to protect their identity for security reasons with exception of one, code-named T56 who briefly testified in open.

Witness T56, among others, claimed that the defendant never incited the population to kill Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide.

According to the registry, two or  three defence witnesses would present their evidence in the next session, the last for the defence case,  which will take  four days up to March 25.

Nzabonimana's lead defence Counsel, Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse had earlier told Hirondelle News Agency that his client would not testify on his own defence.

The prosecution among others alleged that the accused played an important role in the massacres of Tutsis in his native prefecture of Gitarama, central Rwanda. He was allegedly an active member of the then ruling party, MRND, at his prefecture and the national level.   

Nzabonimana was arrested in the western part of Tanzania on February 18, 2008. The next day was transferred to the United Nations Detention Facilities (UNDF) in Arusha at headquarters of the UN Tribunal.


© Hirondelle News Agency