Arusha, February 3, 2012 (FH) - Trials of Jean-Pierre Bemba and that Augustin Ngirabatware resumed before the International Criminal Court (ICC) and at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week, respectively.

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Resumption of Bemba's trial: The trial of Jean-Pierre Bemba resumed on Monday (January 30) with testimony of a protected prosecution witness. The witness code-named 45, who was a member of the rebel group led by Bemba said that although the accused sanctioned some fighters who were deployed in the Central African Republic (CAR) the intention was not to do justice but to clear himself before the International Community that he took actions against the soldiers who perpetuated rapes, murders, and pillaging against civilians. Bemba, who was Congolese senator and leader of Movement for Liberation of Congo, is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in CAR in  2002 and 2003.

Rights Group criticizes UN diplomat for socializing with Al-Bashir: On Wednesday, the Human Rights Watch wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, calling for action against the UN-African Union special representative in Darfur, Ibrahim Gambari, for socializing with ICC-wanted genocide suspect, Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir. It stated that Gambari, Nigerian diplomat broke UN rules when he attended the wedding of Chad's President Idriss Deby in Khartoum on January 20, in the presence of Al-Bashir, who is wanted by The Hague based Court for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the troubled Darfur region, Western Sudan.


Ngirabatware trial resumes: Defence hearing for former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware resumed on Monday when a wife of genocide acquitted person gave her testimony. Leoncie Bongwa, the wife of former Transport and Communications Minister Andre Ntagerura, who was acquitted by ICTR six years ago, supported Ngirabatware's defence of alibi that between April 6 and 12, 1994 he never left Kigali. The prosecution has been alleging that between April 6 and 8, 1994,the accused was in his home prefecture of Gisenyi, North Rwanda, busy distributing rifles, grenades and even inciting the population to kill Tutsis. The trial was Thursday adjourned sine die.


Kagame assures fair trial for genocide suspects' deportees: In his first press conference of the year, Rwandan President Paul Kagame Thursday assured that genocide cases transferred to Rwanda would be handled fairly and to everybody's satisfaction. He was referring to the cases involving Rwandan scholar Léon Mugesera and Pastor Jean Uwinkindi. Mugesera, who was extradited by Canada on January 24, after a sixteen-year long legal battle, appeared before a Court on Thursday in Kigali, but his preliminary hearing was postponed to April 2, because he was not fully represented. Uwinkindi is still in ICTR custody awaiting his transfer.


© Hirondelle News Agency