21.03.11 - ICTR/NIZEYIMANA - GENERAL GATSINZI STATEMENT NOT ADMITTED IN NIZEYIMANA'S CASE

Arusha, March 21, 2011 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has denied the prosecution's appeal, challenging non-admission into evidence a sworn statement by former Rwandan Defence Minister, General Marcel Gatsinzi, in a case involving ex-military officer, Captain Idelphonse Nizeyimana.
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"The Appeals Chamber has found that the Trial Chamber did not error in denying admission to the Gatsinzi statement on the bases that there is an overriding public interest to hear (his) statement viva voce (in person) and that it would be highly prejudicial to Nizeyimana to admit evidence without allowing for cross-examination," it said in its decision.

It added, "The prosecution has not demonstrated any prejudice, and it is not necessary to overturn the impugned decision and order the admission of the Gatsinzi's statement."   

Gen Gatsinzi, currently Minister for Natural Disaster and Refugee Affairs, allegedly describes Nizeyimana in the statement as having the post of Chief of Intelligence (S2) as well as Chief of Instructor and Chief of Operations (S3) at the Noncommissioned Officers School (ESO) in 1994.

In such capacity, according to the statement noted by the Chamber in its decision, Nizeyimana "had a big role in coordinating the day to day training and operation of ESO, including commanding over subordinate personnel under him and was required to familiar with the administer the Rules of Discipline of the FAR. "

Asked whether he would move the Trial Chamber to reopen the prosecution's case and call Gatsinzi to testify in person on his statement, Senior Trial Attorney Drew White replied, "I am not going to do that. I have been satisfies by the testimony of 38 witnesses the prosecution called to give evidence against the accused."

Gen. Gatsinzi is expected to appear before the Appeal Chamber on March 30, 2011, to testify in the case involving three former Rwandan military officials, including Colonel Théoneste Bagosora.

The prosecution concluded its case on February 25, 2011. The trial resumes on May 9, 2011 when the defence for Nizeyimana, who is charged with genocide, extermination, murder and rape, will commence.

FK/ER/GF

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