"The Trial Chamber directs and orders that the rebuttal evidence will begin on March 5, unless otherwise directed," Presiding Judge William Hussein Sekule declared on Friday at a status conference.
He also announced the appointment of Rwandan Claver Sindayigaya as new Co-counsel for Ngirabatware. He takes over from Canadian lawyer Mylene Dimitri, who was recently signed up Lead Counsel for the accused to replace British Peter Herbert, discharged from the case for undisclosed reasons.
In the forthcoming proceedings, the prosecution will attempt to challenge the former minister's evidence that between April 23 and May 23, 1994 he was not in Rwanda. Ngirabatware alleges that he had visited Senegal and Swaziland within the contentious period.
According to the Rules of the Tribunal, the defence is also entitled to call witnesses to produce "evidence in rejoinder" to contradict such rebuttal evidence, if need arises.
The defence closed its case on February 22, 2012 after calling 35 witnesses, including the accused, to dispute charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.
Ngirabatware's trial took off on September 22, 2009 and the prosecution closed its case-in-chief on August 31, 2010 after presenting 20 witnesses. The defence opened its case on November 16, 2010 when the defendant took the stand as first witness.
He was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007 and transferred to ICTR custody in Arusha, Tanzania on October 8, 2008.
© Hirondelle News Agency