Arusha, February 28, 2012 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has dismissed a prosecution request to examine former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware's passports, as part of its moves to contest his defence of alibi.

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The prosecution wanted four documents (two Rwandan diplomatic passports and an ordinary one, plus a certified copy of Ngirabatware's wife's passport) sent to a forensic expert to verify claims that some of the entry stamps were falsified.

But in its decision dated February 23, 2012, the Trial Chamber threw out the request, saying the prosecution had not provided enough information on the identity and qualifications of the proposed expert.

The Chamber also noted the significant amount of time the prosecution had wasted in filing the motion, since the four documents were admitted as defence evidence in November 2010 and February 2011.

"The prosecution first raised the issue of falsification in December 2010, and continued to address it during cross-examination of the accused on various days in February 2011," the judges noted.  "Despite moving the Chamber in October 2011 for additional evidence to rebut the accused's alibi, the prosecution only filed the motion in January 2012."

The Chamber's decision comes after it directed the prosecution to start calling extra witnesses on March 5 to rebut the defence of alibi.

Ngirabatware is charged with genocide, extermination and rape as crimes against humanity. However he claims he was not in Rwanda between April 23 and May 23, 1994, when he is accused of committing crimes. Ngirabatware claims he was travelling in Senegal and Swaziland.


© Hirondelle News Agency