Arusha, April 14, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has admitted into evidence twelve exculpatory statements, suggesting innocence or mitigating guilt of ex-Rwandan Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, almost a month before delivery of judgement in his case.

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According to a scheduling order issued by Tribunal, on May 17, 2011 it will deliver judgment in a joint trial called Military II involving Ndindiliyimana and three other former senior Rwandan military officers.  

In a decision dated April 12, 2011, the Tribunal said, "Since Rule 89© and 92 bis do not militate against the Chamber's discretion to admit into evidence the exculpatory materials contained in the strictly confidential annex to this decision, the Chamber will admit them into evidence in order to ameliorate the prejudice suffered to the accused Ndindiliyimana.  

A Trial Chamber ruled on September 22, 2008 that the Prosecutor had violated his disclosure obligations under Rule 68 with respect to a large number of documents he was in possession and found them "material, which in his actual knowledge may suggest the innocence or mitigate the guilt of the accused or affect the credibility of the prosecution evidence.  

It, accordingly, ordered the prosecution to immediately disclose the documents to the defence and reprimanded the prosecutor for having kept to himself, without communicating to the defendants, evidence which could be useful to them.  

The Chamber also allowed the defence to call some authors of the exculpatory statements as well as recalling some of prosecution witnesses for further cross-examinations on the documents.  

However, in its decision dated April 12, 2011, the Chamber noted that majority of the authors of those statements were for reasons unavailable to testify, leading to a failure by defence to benefit from the remedial measures to negate the considerable prejudice caused to the accused.  

"At this stage, the Chamber notes that the only remedy available to it to rectify the prejudice suffered by the accused is the admission into evidence of the twelve exculpatory statements contained in the strictly confidential annex to this decision," it ruled.  

Other accused are former Chief of Staff of the Army, General Augustin Bizimungu, ex-Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, a member of the unity. They are charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.  


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