Arusha, March 29, 2011 (FH) - The defence for former Rwandan Minister of Youth Callixte Nzabonimana, Tuesday accused the prosecution of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) of colluding with the Rwandan authorities to lure witnesses to testify against the defendant.

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"The prosecution handed money to the sub-prefect of Gitarama (Central Rwanda) Immaculée Mukamasabo for the handling of witnesses in Nzabonimana case," the defendant's lead counsel Vincent Courcelle -Labrousse alleged before the Chamber.

He referred to some documents, including a receipt, request for reimbursement and two others showing reimbursement of 245, 000 Rwandan Franks paid to Adamou Allagouma, a prosecutor investigator, for the purpose.

The counsel said analysis from the documents would show that there was global amount handed to the Rwandan authority to be given to prosecution witnesses.

"When a witness is coming to testify is known and checked and receives compensation after the testimony. Imagine what the witness could say. If I am paid by the Rwandan authority mean that it has approved me. So there is no difference between the Rwandan authority and ICTR," he said.

He questioned the integrity of the prosecutions and said, "The only feeling one would have is that some fraud has been committed. We want to challenge the method that has been adopted by the prosecution".

According to him, they need to examine those witnesses, to examine the proportional of amount they were paid and they would also scrutinize Adamou Allagouma as well as Immaculée Mukamasabo on the same issue.

In his brief response, Senior Trial Attorney Paul Ng'arua denied the prosecution having any ill motive by either colluding with Rwandan authority or bribing witnesses so that they could testify against Nzabonimana.

"The money paid to the witnesses was not used for any other purpose than to feed, accommodate and transport them back to their homes. Collusion cannot be inferred to these documents. So there is no any malice against the accused," he said.

Nzabonimana is charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. The prosecution among others alleged that the accused played an important role in the massacres of Tutsis in his native prefecture of Gitarama.


© Hirondelle News Agency