Arusha, May 23, 2011(FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Monday commenced the special deposition proceedings in the case of the most wanted genocide fugitive Félicien Kabuga.

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Judge Vagn Joensen is hearing the proceedings. "The proceedings will take place from Monday through Thursday each week, with a break during the week of June 6 to 10, 2011," according to his previous order dated May 6, 2011.

The ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, could not give more detail on the matter when contacted by Hirondelle News Agency, saying, "the proceedings will be held in-camera and so I can not provide you with much information."

However, he pointed out, that would be one of three cases of top-level fugitives which would be proceeded with in such way under Rule 71 bis of the ICTR Rules.  The other cases involve Protais Mpiranya, who was Commander of the Presidential Guard and Augustin Bizimana, former Minister of Defence.

"The Prosecution will be calling witnesses in each of these three cases for the purpose of having their testimony recorded and used if necessary at the eventual trial of the fugitive if arrested.  Such recorded testimony may be used by the trial chamber where the witness concerned is no longer available to testify personally," said the prosecutor.

He added, "This is a new and important procedure that the ICTR is embarking upon. The process is designed to ensure that evidence against the accused is preserved and the continued evasion of justice by the fugitives does not, in the event of unavailability of the witnesses, erode the ability of the prosecution to establish the case against the accused when they are eventually arrested and brought to trial."

The prosecution considers the three figures as key suspects among the 10 still on the run. These are first requests of this kind in the ICTR history.

Already the Tribunal has granted a similar application for the prosecutor in the case of Bizimana after considering his position as a high-profile fugitive and the importance of his apprehension and trial to the many victims of his alleged crimes. The application relating to the case of Mpiranya has not been decided.

ICTR sources allege that Kabuga is said to be carrying out his commercial activities in Kenya, while Mpiranya is allegedly being protected by senior officials in Zimbabwe, whereas Bizimana may be hiding in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


© Hirondelle News Agence