Arusha, August 23, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday granted motion requesting Belgium to provide assistance to the defence team of former Rwandan Planning minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, to meet two Belgian citizens believed to be potential witnesses for his case.

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‘'The Chamber considers that the defence has identified, in as much detail as possible, the evidence it seeks. Specifically,  it requests a meeting with the two named Belgian nationals, who may be able to give evidence about some of the allegations against the accused,'' part of the ruling reads.

According to the decision the Chamber noted that the defence demonstrated that it had made diligent efforts to obtain evidence it seeks but was unfortunately unsuccessful. ‘'The Chamber respectfully requests the Kingdom of Belgium to provide any relevant assistance in facilitating a meeting between the defence and the two named nationals,'' it said.

Earlier on June 8, 2011, the Kingdom of Belgium informed the ICTR Registry that it required an order from the Chamber before it could comply with the defence request.

Meanwhile genocide-accused and former Rwanda minister of Foreign Affairs, Jerome Bicamumpaka now testifying in defence of Ngirabatware alleged before the Chamber that the 1994 interim government did what it could to stop hate broadcasts transmitted by privately owned radio, RTLM.

Led in his examination in chief by the accused Co-counsel, Mylene Dimitri, Bicamumpaka said that was one of the conditions given by the then Belgian Ambassador when they asked for assistance to stop the massacres escalating in Kigali city in April, 1994.

He said acting on the request, the interim government sent minister responsible for information by then to meet with management of RTLM to stop he hate broadcasts against Belgian nationals whose 10 soldiers working with Peace Keeping Mission in Rwanda were killed on April 7, 1994.

The prosecution took over the floor to cross examine the witness.

Ngirabatware 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.


© Hirondelle News Agency