Arusha, August 26, 2011 (FH) - Two trials came to an end this week, including that of leader of Patriotic Forces for Liberation of Congo, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo. It is the first case to be concluded at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The other case involves ex-senior leaders of MRND held at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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Chief militia's case concluded: The trial of commander-in-chief of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, came to the end this week after the parties concluded presenting their closing argument. The court heard final briefs from prosecution, defence and representatives of victims in the case against Lubanga accused of war crimes.

Bemba trial resumes: Jean-Pierre Bemba's trial resumed on Tuesday and the prosecution continued presenting its witnesses. The leader of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.


MRND trial : The trial involving former top leaders of MRND, Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, also known as "Karemera et al" case, came to an end this week after both prosecution and defence concluded presenting their closing arguments.

The Prosecution requested for life imprisonment sentence to be handed down to accused for genocide, among other crime, for being part of a group most responsible for organizing and executing the systematic murder of Tutsis during genocide. On the other hand, counsel for the accused requested for justice to be observed in the trial and sought for a guiltless verdict, citing inconsistencies of prosecution witnesses' testimony. They alleged that prosecution's evidence was produced by dubious and doubtful witnesses, thus, acquittal for the accused was unavoidable.

Ngirumpatse, on his part, said his dream for Rwandans to reconcile was still on and his determination to contribute to such process was still firm regardless of his current situation, while Karemera called for acquittal, saying the prosecution failed to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubts.

Planning Minister's trial adjourned: The trial of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware was adjourned to September 19. Before the adjournment, the defence called ex-Foreign Affairs Minister and gernocide-acused, Jerome Bicamumpaka, to defend the accused.


Finland proceedings: There was appeal hearing in Helsinki in the case of François Bazaramba, a Rwandan pastor, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide by a Finnish lower court in June 2010, for intending to destroy in whole or part Tutsis, as a group and for spreading anti-Tutsi propaganda by inciting Hutus to the killings.

Schedule for next week starting August 29


Kenya situation: There will be confirmation of charges hearing in the case three Kenyan officials, William Ruto, Henry Kosgey and Joshua Arap Sang, suspected of crimes against humanity for their role in the violence which erupted after the Presidential election in December, 2007, staring Thursday.


© Hirondelle News Agency