Arusha, August 11, 2011 (FH) - Although announced for this month, no date has yet been set for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda to render its judgment in the genocide trial of four former Rwandan ministers.

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They are Casimir Bizimungu (Health), Prosper Mugiraneza, (Public Service), Jérome Bicamumpaka (Foreign Affairs) and Justin Mugenzi (Trade).

This is one of the ICTR's most awaited judgments and one of its longest trials. The accused have all been in detention for 12 years.

ICTR President Khalida Rachid Khan, who is also the presiding judge in this trial, said in June that the judgment was expected in August.  Her statement came as she presented her six-monthly report on the Tribunal's completion strategy to the UN Security Council.

However, ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga told Hirondelle News Agency on Thursday that the court had not yet provided any information about a precise date for the judgment. The ICTR is currently on judicial recess, but is due to return to work on August 15.

Their trial, known as "Government II", began in 2003, and ended in 2008. The prosecution requested a life sentence for each of the accused. The verdict was originally expected in 2010.

Mugiraneza has four times tried in vain to get his case dropped owing to the court's slowness.  The Chamber rejected his last such motion in June 2010, but with a landmark "dissenting opinion" by one of the judges. Judge Emile Francis Short said that in his opinion the accused's rights had indeed been violated. As a consequence, said Judge Short, Mugiraneza should get his sentence reduced if found guilty and should get compensation if acquitted.


© Hirondelle News Agency