Arusha, May 27, 2011(FH) -The prosecution is expected to call at least 44 witnesses in special deposition proceedings in the case of most wanted genocide fugitive, Félicien Kabuga, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), according to ICTR press services.

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Four witnesses have testified since the commencement of the proceedings on May 23, 2011. The proceedings presided over by Judge Vagn Joensen are being held in total closed session.

This is the first case in the ICTR history for the prosecution to call such big number witnesses in a single case.  Kabuga (76) is charged with 11 counts of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide.

He is also facing charges of crimes against humanity for murder, extermination, rape, persecution and inhuman acts and other charges of war crimes. During the events for which he was indicted, Kabuga was a businessman and was related by marriage to the family of President Juvenal Habyarimana.

His indictment alleges that he was main financier and backer of main political parties, National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND) and Democratic Republican Movement (MDR) and their militias, who allegedly played crucial role during genocide.

He was also President of the National Defence Fund's Provisional Committee, allegedly provided funds to the interim Rwandan government for the purposes of executing the 1994 genocide.  He also headed Initiative Committee of Radio Television Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), allegedly propagated hatred against Tutsis.

Kabuga's case is among three involving top-level fugitives that 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.

These are first requests of this kind in the ICTR history. The ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Jallow filed motions for the taking of deposition in the three cases for fears that evidence against them may be lost or deteriorates due to the passage of time, death and incapacity of unavailability of witnesses later on.

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 Agency