Arusha, August 23, 2011 (FH) -The defence before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday requested for justice to be observed in the genocide trial involving former Vice-President of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Edouard Karemera, and disbelieves prosecution's evidence produced to support charges against him.

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"We do not have a case (against the accused). You do not have the right to convict an innocent person. We believe justice will be done to Karemera," Lead Counsel for the defendant, Dior Diagne, told a Trial Chamber presided over by Judge Dennis Byron, when presenting her closing arguments.

The counsel submitted that she believed Karemera could be convicted of crimes he committed or because of speeches he maybe guilty of, but she queried, "what is the evidence adduced to you on the contribution by Karemera to genocide in Rwanda?"

Karemera is charged in the case alongside his party's former President, Matthieu Ngirumpatse, with genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, allegedly committed, mostly by members of their party, its youth wing, Interahamwe, in particular.

Co-Counsel for the accused, Felix Sow, criticized the nature of evidence produced by prosecution witnesses to support the charges against his client, submitting that most of them were convicts who had lost their civic rights in Rwanda and, therefore, invited the Chamber to view their evidence with caution as "most of their testimonies were inaccurate."

"Their morality was dubious and doubtful. One of the witnesses told the Chamber that they have the culture of telling lies in their country (Rwanda). Such testimony lacks credibility," he submitted.

According to the counsel, none of the prosecution exhibits established that the accused participated in the conspiracy to commit genocide nor had he genocidal intent to exterminate the Tutsis.

"The trial has revealed how the prosecution has changed his strategy. He provided a defective indictment and took the advantage of witnesses to bring new material facts in the course of trial. The defence objects to these new facts. The accused must know the facts of his case before the trial and not at the time of its progress," he submitted.

The matter continues Wednesday when Ngirumpatse would have the opportunity to present his views on the prosecution's case.

Karemera, a native of the former prefecture of Kibuye (western Rwanda), who was born in 1951, was arrested on June 5, 1998 in Togo and transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility (UNDF) in Arusha on July 10, 1998.

Prior to his arrest he held various senior positions including being minister of Interior in the interim government which took oath on April 8, 1994 until he fled in July, 1994.


© Hirondelle News Agency