Arusha, July 06, 2011 (FH) - Trial Chamber in the case of genocide-accused and former Rwandan Minister for Youth, Callixte Nzabonimana maintained its order for the parties to file their closing briefs on July 5, 2011 with words not exceeding 30,000.

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The ruling signed by the bench presided over by Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa followed the defence motion filed on July 4, 2011, asking for variation of order on word limits or in the alternative, extension of time to file its closing briefs.

Prosecution response on July 5, 2011, strongly opposed the defence motion stating among others that ‘'the request came less than 24 hours before the expiry of the deadline for filing the closing briefs set by the Trial Chamber.''

According to the prosecution arguments, on May 6, the Trial Chamber issued an oral decision in which it ordered that deadline for filling of closing briefs for both parties should be July 5, 2011 and the closing briefs of the parties should not exceed 30,000 words.

‘'The Chamber observes that the defence provides no justification for filing its motion at the eleventh hour. In the absence of a compelling argument of good cause for the late filing, the Chamber cannot extend the deadline for submission of the filing briefs.'' part of the ruling reads.

In its conclusion the Chamber ‘' reaffirms its order of May 6, 2011 regarding the deadline for filing the closing briefs,'' directing ‘' the defence to file any reply to the Prosecution Response by close of business on July 7, 2011.''

However the Chamber clarified also that for the interest of justice, the Chamber will review the arguments of the parties, on an expedited basis, to determine whether it would be appropriate to allow one or both parties to file amended closing briefs at a later date.

The prosecution closed its case on April 13, 2010 after presenting 20 witnesses whereas the defence rested its case on May 6, 2011 after having fielded 37 witnesses for their client. The trial itself commenced on November 9, 2009.

Nzabonimana is facing five charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. The Prosecution presents him as the main instigator of the killings in his home prefecture of Gitarama.


© Hirondelle News Agency