Arusha, September 8, 2011 (FH) - The defence team of genocide-accused and former Rwandan minister of Planning, Augustin Ngirabatware has at last  complied with the order of the Trial Chamber by reducing to 19 the number of its remaining witnesses.

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Two reliable sources within the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) confirmed to Hirondelle News Agency that the defence complied with the order in its response filed confidentially on September 5.

In a decision of August 26, 2011, the Chamber directed the defence to reduce the number of its witnesses from 42 to 19, but in a confidential motion filed on September 1, the defence applied for stay of the decision and indicated the remaining witnesses would be 29.

However on September 2, the Chamber denied defence motion and directed that its previous order should be complied with, insisting that the final list of the remaining witnesses not exceeding 19 should be filed by September 5.

The Chamber stated in its ruling that it took into consideration several factors including previous orders to reduce significantly the number of defence witnesses which was not honored, the motion which provided a list of 29 witnesses instead of 19, and the fact that the case is scheduled to resume on September 19, 2011.

Ngirabatware has already called 16 witnesses for his defence including himself and the Chamber considered that 19 more witnesses would be sufficient to guarantee a fair trial.

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.


© Hirondelle News Agency