Arusha, May 25, 2011 (FH) -The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will deliver judgment in the longest joint trial of six accused, including former Rwandan Minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, on June 24, 2011, according to the scheduling order issued by the Tribunal on Wednesday.

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The judgment comes 10 years since the commencement of the trial on June 12, 2001 and 16 years after the arrest of some of the accused.

Other accused in the case known as Butare Trial, name of the native prefecture of all six defendants in Southern Rwanda are Nyiramasuhuko's son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, two former Governors, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo and two former Mayors, Joseph Kanyabashi and Elie Ndayambaje.

Kanyabashi and Ndayambaje were arrested on June 28, 1995 in Belgium. Nyiramasuhuko and Nsabimana were arrested on July 18, 1997 in Nairobi ,Kenya , while  Ntahobali was arrested six days later in the same East African country, whereas Nteziryayo was apprehended on April 24, 1998 in Bukina Faso.

They are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. All defendants have pleaded not guilty. The trial presided by Tanzanian Judge, William Sekule is considered the longest and largest case and probably the most expensive of all the trials in  the international justice so far.

The proceedings took more than 700 days of hearings. They were particularly long because of the difficulties with the witnesses and the extreme slowness of the questioning. In addition, several expert witnesses were called in the trial and some would remain for a month on the stand.

When the defence case was being presented, conflicts of interests among defendants came to add to the slowness of the case proceedings. It took the parties a total of nine days from April 20, 2009 to wind up their last oral submission.

During crossing arguments, the prosecution requested for maximum sentence of life imprisonment to be imposed against all the defendants, while the defence sought for acquittal, citing, among others, inconsistencies of testimony of witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency