Arusha, March 14, 2011 (FH) - Closing arguments in the trial involving two top officials of the then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Matthieu Ngirumpatse, who was the President and his Vice-President, Edouard Karemera, will be presented before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) starting August 22, 2011.

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"The parties (prosecution and defence) will start presenting their closing arguments on August 22 and we will continue next days until we conclude with the presentation," Senior Trial Attorney Don Webster told the Hirondelle News Agency on Monday, adding, "both parties are required to file their final briefs by June 2."

Ngirumpatse and Karemera are charged with seven counts including genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, allegedly committed, mostly by members of their party, its youth wing, Interahamwe, in particular.

The Interahamwe is a Hutu paramilitary organization formed by groups of young males who allegedly carried out the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis in 1994. The prosecution has notably indicted the duo for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party.

To support the charges in question, the prosecution fielded 46 witnesses, of whom 30 appeared before the Chamber for direct examination, while the evidence of 16 others was admitted through their written statements. The defence called a total of 74 witnesses to challenge the allegations.

According to records, 35 witnesses testified in Karemera's defence case including himself, while 39 others with Ngirumpatse inclusive gave evidence to support his case.

Earlier, the prosecution had charged Ngirumpatse and Karemera jointly with former MRND Secretary General, Joseph Nzirorera. The Tribunal, however, terminated the proceedings against Nzirorera following his death on July 1, 2010. Before meeting his death, Nzirorera was still presenting his defence case.


© Hirondelle News Agency