Arusha, April 13, 2011 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has granted the defence motion, seeking its protected witness to testify for former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware through video-link from France, where he is living.

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 "The Chamber is of the view that the defence has met all three factors to be considered when determining whether a witness may testify by video-link. In the interests of justice, DWAN-7 may testify via video-link," it said in the decision dated April 12, 2011.  

According to the Chamber, proposed testimony of witness DWAN-7, as it concerns one of the accused's alibis, was sufficiently important and relevant while medical certificate presented by the defence sufficiently describes the nature and gravity of the witness's health condition preventing him from traveling to Arusha.  

Earlier, the defence had submitted that the witness's testimony would show that the accused never made any anti-Tutsi sentiments and that would corroborate his alibi that he was in Kigali on April 7, 1994.  

Furthermore, the defence submitted a medical report from a doctor in France, indicating that the witness was 78 years old when the certificate was issued on November 26, 2010 and that he had suffered a stroke in the past and suffers from hypertension.  

The prosecution, in its response had, however, opposed to the motion on grounds that the medical certificate attached could not be relied upon to justify the exceptional measure of the testimony through video-link.  

The trial resumes on June 6, 2011 when Ngirabatware is expected to continue presenting his defence case. He is charged with genocide or in the alternative conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.


© Hirondelle News Agency