Arusha, May 4, 2011 (FH) - Former Rwandan Mayor Grégoire Ndahimana has changed his mind and would not give own evidence against the charges he is facing before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the defendant's lead counsel Bharat Chadha, told Hirondelle News Agency on Wednesday.

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"We have discussed on the situation and he (Ndahimana) has opted not to testify," the counsel said. Initially, the defence for Ndahimana, former mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), had informed the Trial Chamber presided over by Judge Florence Rita Arrey that he would testify alongside other witnesses.

According to Chadha, the Chamber has been dully informed of the new development and only two witnesses have remained to testify for the defendant. The defence has already called 29 witnesses. The trial resumes on May 9, 2011 for the last session of defence case.

Ndahimana is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination, as a crime against humanity. He is accused of planning the massacres at Nyange Church in his commune jointly with other officials, including the parish priest, father Athanase Seromba, currently serving life imprisonment sentence for his involvement.

Others are businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for similar offence and Fulgence Kayishema, former Judicial Police Inspector of the commune, who is still at large.  More than 2000 Tutsi refugees were allegedly killed at the church.

Ndahimana was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on August 10, 2009. He was transferred to Arusha on August 21, 2009.  He made his initial appearance on September 28, 2009 and denied all the charges.


© Hirondelle News Agency