Arusha, June 24, 2011 (FH) -Duty Counsel Bahame Nyanduga representing Félicien Kabuga, the most wanted genocide fugitive in the ongoing special deposition proceedings at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will call defence witnesses in 2012.

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The proceedings for Kabuga, who is considered the financier of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, took off on May 23, 2011 and the prosecution is still calling witnesses.

"The deposition will go on until July 15, 2011, then there will be three months suspension to allow the defence to carry out investigations. It is expected that the hearing of defence witnesses will take place in March 2012," the ICTR Spokesperson, Roland Amoussouga, said on Friday.

This is not a trial and the exercise aims at preserving evidence for a future trial in case the alleged financier of the genocide is arrested.

Judge Vagn Joensen, who is currently conducting the proceedings under total closed session, cannot rule on the probative value of evidence collected nor can Nyanduga pretend to be fully defending Kabuga, who has not mandated him.

Kabuga (76) is charged with 11 counts, including 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.

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.

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