Arusha, August 11, 2011 (FH) - The genocide trial of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware will resume on Monday, according to International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda spokesman Roland Amoussouga. This marks the return of the ICTR from its summer judicial recess.

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The Ngirabatware trial will continue with presentation of defence witnesses. The defence has so far called 13 witnesses out of the 53 expected to testify for Ngirabatware. The former minister is charged with genocide or in the alternative conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

On August 22, the trial of former MRND ruling party officials Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera is expected to resume with closing arguments. Ngirumpatse was president and Karemera vice-president of the MRND during the 1994 genocide.

The evidence phase in the case was closed on February 18, 2011. Ngirumpatse called 39 witnesses and Karemera 35, while the prosecution called 46 witnesses.

The two are charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. The charges relate mainly to crimes carried out by MRND party members, especially its Interahamwe youth wing. The accused have been indicted for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party.

On September 6, the trial of former Rwandan military officer Captain Ildephonse Nizeyimana is due to resume, along with special hearings in the case of most wanted genocide fugitive Félicien Kabuga.

The Kabuga hearings are not a trial as such, but rather proceedings to preserve evidence for a future trial if the defendant is caught. The prosecution will continue presenting its witnesses. It has said it expects to present 44 witnesses in total.   

For Nizeyimana, the Tribunal is expected to receive extra defence evidence from one protected witness, before hearing on September 7 the prosecution's "rebuttal" evidence challenging the defendant's defence of alibi. Nizeyimana argues that he was not in Butare between April and May, 1994. The defence closed its case on June 16, 2011 after calling 38 witnesses.

On September 12, the trial of ex-Youth Minister Callixte Nzabonimana is due to resume with prosecution cross-examination of two protected defence witnesses whose written statements have been accepted by the court as additional evidence.   

September 21 should see resumption of proceedings in the case of former Rwandan mayor Grégoire Ndahimana. The parties are expected to present their closing arguments. The evidence phase in the case was closed on May 13, 2011 after the defence had called 30 witnesses. The prosecution called 15 witnesses to support charges of genocide or, in the alternative, complicity in genocide, and extermination as a crime against humanity.


© Hirondelle News Agency