Arusha, June 14, 2011 (FH) -The defence for Captain Ildephonse Nizeyimana has asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to review its decision, allowing the prosecution to challenge the defendant's evidence over his presence in Butare prefecture (Western Rwanda) in months of April and May, 1994.

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"The impugned decision should be reconsidered on four grounds: it is erroneous and unjust; it constitutes an abuse of power; it causes the accused to suffer injustice and prejudice; it causes considerable problems with the management of the case," the defence states in its motion published on the ICTR website.

In a decision of June 7, 2011, a Trial Chamber considered that it would be in the interests of justice to allow three extra prosecution witnesses to testify in response to the defendant's alibi defence that he was not in Butare as of April 21 and 22, 1994 and between April 26 through May 17, the same year.

According to the prosecution, during the period in question, Nizeyimana was at the Noncommissioned Officers School (ESO) in Butare where, as in charge of intelligence and military operations, ordered or instigated soldiers to kill Tutsi civilians at various locations in the region.

However, Nizeyimana alleges in his defence that between end of April and mid May, 1994, he was in Mata, Gokongoro prefecture (South Rwanda), where he was assigned a mission to set up a training centre for coaching new recruits.

The Chamber, therefore, notes in its decision that the proposed evidence of "rebuttal" witnesses was relevant, probative value and not of a cumulative nature and may assist in assessing other evidence adduced during the course of the trial, and more generally, in its quest to ascertain the truth.

It has ordered the prosecution to present its rebuttal evidence immediately starting June 22, 2011, following the closure of defence case on June 17, 2011. In the motion, however, the defence alleges that it could not be ready to cross-examine the witnesses as early as ordered without having investigated them and their evidence.

According to the motion, "the impugned decision places the defence in unfair situation where advantages were granted to the prosecution while statutory rights for the accused were being violated. A fair trial is unachievable under those circumstances and the impugned decision calls for reconsideration in order to safeguard the rights of the accused."

Presentation of defence case continues on Wednesday. Nizeyimana is charged with genocide, extermination, murder and rape. He was arrested in Uganda on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania the following day.


© Hirondelle News Agency