Arusha, March 31, 2011 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday postponed the hearing of the appeal in the case of former Rwandan Military officer, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, for failure of his counsels to attend the session.

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"The Appeals Chamber hereby orders that the presentation of Ntabakuze's oral arguments on appeal shall be heard at a later date to be announced in due course," it said in its decision.

It further considered the present circumstances and given the complexity of the case and it would be in the interests of justices for Ntabakuze to be represented by counsel at the appeal hearing.

The Chamber noted that Ntabakuze's counsels, American Lead Counsel Peter Erlinder and Canadian co-counsel Andre Tremblay, had informed the Tribunal that they would not travel to Arusha to attend the hearing on medical grounds and in a ruling the Chamber had denied Erlinder to participate in the session through video-conference.

Following such circumstances, Ntabakuze wrote to the Chamber, asking for a formal order for severance and the Chamber, in its oral ruling on Wednesday, granted the request. He was later escorted outside the courtroom, leaving behind Colonel Theoneste Bagosora and Lieutenant-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva.

All the trio hail from Gisenyi prefecture, Northern Rwandan. Ntabakuze, who commanded the Para-commando Battalion, was sentenced to life imprisonment on December 18, 2008, for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He was found responsible for soldiers participation in killings at Kabeza, Nyanza Hill and at the Institut Africain et Mauricien de Statistiques et d'Economice appliquée (IAMSEA) in Kigali.


© Hirondelle News Agency