Arusha, April 15, 2011(FH) - The decision by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to admit into evidence twelve exculpatory statements, suggesting innocence or mitigating guilt of ex-Rwandan Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, is among major events reported by Hirondelle News Agency this week.

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However, the Tribunal's decision comes almost a month before delivery of judgement on May 17, 2011 in the case of the defendant in Military II trial involving three other former senior Rwandan military officers, including ex-Chief of Staff of the Army, General Augustin Bizimungu.

The Tribunal has decided to admit the statements to ameliorate the prejudice suffered to Ndindiliyimana and negate the considerable injustice caused to him following the failure by authors of the documents to appear before it to testify on them.

Another event covered involved former Rwandan Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, wherein the Tribunal ordered the prosecution to immediately disclose audio records of Radio Rwanda broadcasts that could presumably assist him in his defence of alibi.

The audio records of 9,10,11,16 and 17 April 1994 allegedly support the defendant's alibi that he was in Kigali attending swearing in ceremony of the Rwandan Interim Government and cabinet meetings whereas that of May 24 1994 shows an interview on his official trip outside Rwanda between April 23 and May 23, 1994.

Before the International Criminal Court (ICC), there was continuation of trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba and Prosecutor General of the Central African Republic (CAR), Firmin Feindiro, testified that late president Ange-Félix Patassé had overall command of armed forces in the country between 2002 and 2003, hence reinforcing the defendant's defence.

Bemba, a Congolese senator and the leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), had been claiming that he was not in command of his troops when they were in CAR to assist the president against the rebellion led by François Bozizé. The trial has been postponed to May 3, 2011.   

Another trial before the ICC involved Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and a Trial Chamber has scheduled August 25 and 26, August, 2011 as dates for the parties to present their closing oral arguments in the case.

The former Congolese rebel leader is accused of having committed, as a co-perpetrator, war crimes of enlisting children under the age of 15 years into the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of the Congo.   


© Hirondelle News Agency