Arusha, August 19, 2011 (FH) -Both the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) resumed trials on Monday after a month-long judicial recess. However, at the ICC, confirmation of charges hearings for Callixte Mbarushimana, suspected of committing crimes in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, were postponed for a second time.

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Planning Minister's trial resumes: The trial of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware resumed on Monday, marking the end of a month-long judicial recess. The defence continued presenting its witnesses, with one claiming Wednesday having being threatened and bribed by members of the prosecution to testify against the accused.

Already 15 witnesses have so far testify for Ngirabatware, who 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.


Confirmation of charges hearing postponed again: Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday postponed for the second time conformation of charges hearing in the case of Callixte Mbarushimana, suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2009. The hearings, which had to start on Wednesday, are now scheduled for September 16, 19 and 20. The postponement came in response to a last-minute request of defence that the prosecution had not provided translations of certain documents into French or Kinyarwanda, the languages understood by the accused.

Witnesses start testifying for former Congolese militia leader: Witnesses for the defence of Mathieu Ngudjolo, started testifying before the ICC on Monday. The defence is expected to call ten witnesses, including the accused himself.  Ngudjolo, a former leader of the Front des nationalistes et intégrationnistes, (National Integrationist Front, FNI), is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, notably for his alleged role - alongside Germain Katanga - in the attack of Bogoro (Ituri, Eastern DRC) on February 24, 2003 where over 200 people were killed.


Acquitted suspect to remain free: The acquittal of former presidential advisor Runyinya Barabwiriza, of genocide charges, Wednesday fueled a reaction from Rwandan genocide survivors' group, Ibuka, which called security forces to watch him closely so that he does not flee the country, while his case is on appeal.

The group expressed indignation at the acquittal of Barabwiriza, the then diplomatic advisor to late president Juvénal Habyarimana, saying it was not pleased with the court's decision and supports the prosecution's decision to appeal. The prosecution had accused him of planning genocide before April 6, 1994.

Schedule for next week starting August 22


Karemera et al: The trial involving former top leaders of the then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Matthieu Ngirumpatse, the President and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera, resumes before the same Tribunal on Monday for presentation of closing arguments.


Lubanga case: On Thursday and Friday before the same court there would be presentation of closing arguments by the prosecution, defence and representatives of victims in the case of commander-in-chief of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, accused of war crimes.


© Hirondelle News Agency