Arusha, October 17, 2011 (FH) - While the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will start on Wednesday special depositions hearings in the case of genocide-suspect Protais Mpiranya, his publisher asserts that the Rwandan Major is dead.

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According to the Francophone publishing company Editions Sources du Nil, Mpiranya passed away on October 5, 2006.

His memoirs, "Rwanda, the lost paradise. Last secrets of former commander of J. Habyarimana's Presidential Guard", were released "posthumously" in October 2010, the publisher claims.

Stratagem to escape justice? ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow still thinks that Mpiranya is alive, hiding in Zimbabwe. Addressing the United Nations Security Council on June 6, 2011, he expressed the continued "difficulties experienced" in the tracking of the top level fugitive and urged further cooperation and assistance from the government of Zimbabwe in such regard.

Mpiranya was born in 1960 in Giciye (Gisenyi prefecture). A graduate from the Superior Military School of Kigali, he was trained in Germany and France before becoming commander of Habyarimana's Presidential Guard Battalion in 1993.

During the 1994 genocide, forces under his command are alleged to have been responsible for the murder of Agathe Uwilingiyimana, former Rwandan Prime Minister, as well as the murder of ten Belgian UNAMIR soldiers. Mpiranya is accused of participating in the planning, preparation and execution of the genocide. He is charged by way of his personal and superior responsibility for the crimes alleged.

The Prosecution is expected to call to the stand around thirty witnesses. All hearings will be held in camera. A Defence lawyer has been assigned to the case: he will be entitled to cross-examine witnesses and lead his own investigations.

The Tribunal has already started conducting similar proceedings in Kabuga's case. Special depositions should also start soon in the case of former Defence Minister Augustin Bizimana, allegedly hiding in the DRC.   

The proceedings aim at safeguarding evidence in case the accused would be arrested.


© Hirondelle News Agency