Arusha, 9 April 2008 (FH) - The defence case in the trial of three former top leaders of then ruling party in Rwanda, National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), will officially begin on 14 April, reports Hirondelle Agency.

0 min 59Temps de lecture approximatif

Initially planned for mid-March, the case was then deferred to April 7. On Monday, the defence of former MRND vice-president, Edouard Karemera, one of the three defendants in the trial, said that he would only be ready next week because witnesses were unavailable. The latter had difficulties adapting to frequent changes to the schedule, claimed Karemera’s defence.

Karemera is on trial with the former president of MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, as well as the secretary-general of the party, Joseph Nzirorera. Their prior trial was cancelled. They have been in detention for the last 10 years.

During the week, the tribunal will satisfy itself with the testimony of three protected witnesses for the prosecution who must supplement their preceding testimonies. One of them, code named "BDW" had not finished his cross-examination at the end of the last session in December; while the two others, "AXA" and "BTH", were recalled following new developments which have occurred since their testimonies.

The trial, known as “Karemera case” started in September 2005. The prosecution rested its case in December 2007. The defence case is expected to continue beyond the mandate of the ICTR scheduled for December this year.

The trial is presided by Judge Denis Byron from Saint-Kitts and Nevis who is also president of the ICTR


© Hirondelle News Agency