Arusha, August 29, 2011 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday ordered the defence team of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware to cut its remaining witnesses from 42 to 19 and submit a new witness list by September 5.

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The court thus confirmed its oral request of July 13 and rejected a request from defence lawyer Peter Herbert that it reconsider. In a document issued on July 16, the court said it considered 19 more witnesses sufficient to guarantee a fair trial, given that the defence has already called 16.

The prosecution closed its case on August 31, 2010, after presenting 20 witnesses.

The former minister is accused of genocide or in the alternative conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

The indictment alleges that around early April 1994, the accused engaged in a joint criminal enterprise with other authorities in his native Nyamyumba commune (Gisenyi prefecture) in northern Rwanda, to exterminate Tutsi civilians as part of a widespread and systematic attack against the Tutsi population.

Ngirabatware is the son-in-law of Felicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide, who is still on the run. He fled Rwanda in July 1994 and subsequently worked in various research institutes in Gabon and France. He was arrested in Germany in 2007 and has been in ICTR custody since October 8, 2008.

Ngirabatware's trial is set to resume on September 19.


© Hirondelle News Agency