Arusha, September 19, 2011 (FH) - A gacaca judge testifying for the defence of former Rwandan Planning minister Augustin Ngirabatware Monday denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the defendant was involved in the Rwandan 1994 genocide in his native commune of Nyamyumba (North Rwanda).

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‘'I did not hear anyone, be it a suspect, witness or victim who mentioned Augustin Ngirabatware's, involving him with crimes of genocide. If he was mentioned we would have prepared a file for him and submit it to relevant authorities for trial,'' protected witness DWAN49 told the Chamber presided by Judge William Sekule.

Earlier the witness said that he alongside other residents in his area got involved in the information gathering for semi-traditional Gacaca courts and later on served as presiding judge in several gacaca trials in the area in question.

Led in his examination in chief by the accused Co-counsel, Mylene Dimitri, DWAN49 also denied that he saw minister Ngirabatware between January and July 1994 in Nyamyumba commune.

‘'I never saw Augustin Ngirabatware in Nyamyumba commune between January and July, 1994 and nobody told me he was seen in the commune,'' he told the Chamber.

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 allegedly committed in his commune and Gisenyi prefecture during the 1994 massacres in Rwanda.

The prosecution led by Rashid Rashid took over the floor to cross examine the witness. The trial continues Tuesday.  

Ngirabatware has already called 16 witnesses for his defence including himself. A total of 19 remaining defence witnesses are scheduled for presentation of their evidence until October 31, 2011.

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

Meanwhile the Trial Chamber denied defence motion requesting the ICTR President to report the republic of Togo  to the Security Council for failure to facilitate a meeting between the defence and Togolese potential witness. ‘'The Chamber does not believe at this stage that the circumstances warrant a request to the President to report Togo to the Security Council,'' reads part of the decision issued on September 14, 2011.

However according to the decision, the Chamber requested the Togolese authorities to facilitate and ensure that the defence is able to meet with the Togolese national as soon as possible.


© Hirondelle News Agency