Arusha, April 02, 2012 (FH) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Monday adjourned until further notice the hearing of the case of former Rwandan Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware after the prosecution has completed presentation of its rebuttal witnesses to challenge the accused defence of alibi.

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Earlier updating the Chamber on the remaining two witnesses out of eight, Prosecution Attorney, Wallace Kapaya said witnesses; code-named PRW3 and PRW6 could not come to Arusha on time to give their evidence for different reasons. He explained that whereas the former was yet to get permission from the Nigerian government, the later allegedly did not even pick up the phone when trying to communicate with him.

Kapaya’s attempt to persuade the Chamber to accept his request to close its case but subject to reopening it if the two witnesses were to be available in future, met strong opposition from the accused lead defence Counsel, Mylene Dimitri. She stressed that there was nothing like closing and then reopening again the rebuttal case.

‘’The Trial Chamber rules that the rebuttal evidence is closed and the Nigerian cooperation order (for witness PRW3) is rendered moot,’’ declared Presiding Judge, William Sekule adding ‘’these proceedings are adjourned sine die.’’

The prosecution was allowed to bring eight extra witnesses in attempt to rebut Ngirabatware’s absence in Rwanda during genocide between April 23 and May 23, 1994. The accused claims that within the period in question he was in Senegal and Swaziland.

The accused Counsel, Dimitri told Hirondelle News Agency after the adjournment that she had already filed a rejoinder motion to call five witnesses to challenge the testimony of the prosecution rebuttal witnesses.

The ex-minister is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.

The prosecution has formerly concluded its case on August 31, 2010 after presenting 20 witnesses. The trial commenced on September 22, 2009.