Arusha, August 16, 2010 (FH) - Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has formally terminated the prosecution's case against Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of the then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, following his sudden death on July 1, 2010.
"Criminal responsibility is individual and personalized and the Chamber cannot exercise jurisdiction over a person who is deceased. Therefore, the proceedings against Joseph Nzirorera must be terminated effective July 1, 2010," the Chamber presided over by Judge Dennis Byron stated in its decision read Monday on the ICTR website.
In the case, Nzirorera was charged jointly with his co-top MRND leaders, President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera for crimes allegedly committed by members of their party. Nzirorera died on July 1, in Arusha before completion of his defence case.
Following the decision, the Chamber has decided to hold a status conference on Monday (August 23) to allow the prosecution and defence to discuss legal consequences of the case. The Chamber has invited the parties to make submissions by August 20, on how the death of Nzirorera impacts the proceedings.
Nziriorera's case is unique comparing to other deceased. Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, former Director of Foreign Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, died on 25 April 2010 in Benin after he had been convicted by Trial Chamber and the Appeals Chamber.
The Seventh Day Adventist Church Pastor Elizaphan Ntakiruntimana sentenced to ten years imprisonment died on January 22, 2007 in Arusha, shortly after being released as he had completed serving his jail term.
Joseph Serugendo, a member of the National Committee of the Interahamwe militia, jail six years passed away on August 22, 2006 in Nairobi after he had pleaded guilty to charges he was facing, while Anglican Bishop Samuel Musabyimana died on January 24, 2003 in Tanzania before the start of his case.
Nzirorera was buried in Belgium, while Barayagwiza was laid to rest in Paris. Ntakiruntimana was buried in Tanzania while Serugendo was cremated in Nairobi whereas Musabyimana was buried in Rwanda.
FK/NI/ER/GF© Hirondelle News Agency
Last Updated (Wednesday, 18 August 2010 16:54)
28.06.10 - ICTR/KAREMERA - MRND OFFICIALS HAD NO PLAN TO STAGE COUP D'ETAT, CLAIMS BAGOSORA - Arusha, June 28, 2010
28.06.10 - ICTR/KAREMERA - MRND OFFICIALS HAD NO PLAN TO STAGE COUP D'ETAT, CLAIMS BAGOSORA - Arusha, June 28, 2010 (FH) - Genocide-convict Theoneste Bagsora, Monday refuted prosecution claims that top leaders of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, refused to nominate a successor of President Juvenal Habyarimana because they had a plan of staging a coup d'Etat to take over power.
"There is a paradox here. Those required to take power after death of president on April 6, 1994 refused to accept the offer given to them by the international community. This means, the theory of launching a coup d'Etat is not true," he told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Bagosora, who has been jailed for life for masterminding the 1994 genocide, was referring to MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse, Vice-President Edouard Karemera and Secretary General Joseph Nzirorera, when defending the latter.
The prosecution claims in the indictment that the trio staged a conspiracy of forming interim government to implement genocide policy by meeting with Bagosora on April 7, 1994 in the Ministry of Defence office, where he served as Director of Cabinet.
Examined by Nzirorera's co-counsel Patrick Mayidika, the witness testified, however, that he had met with MRND officials to convey a message from the UN Secretary General Representative for them to replace the deceased president.
"Paradoxically, they did not obey that message. They said they were not in a position to nominate the successor according to their party's constitution, which required calling for a congress. By that time it was not possible to convene a congress meeting," he testified.
Bagosora, now waiting for the hearing of his appeal case, continues with his testimony on Tuesday. Nzirorera and his colleagues are charged with crimes allegedly committed by members of their party. The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party then in power in 1994.
© Hirondelle News Agency
25.06.10 - ICTR/WEEKLY SUMMARY - GENOCIDE-CONVICT BAGOSORA TAKES FLOOR FOR NZIRORERA - Arusha, June 25, 2010
25.06.10 - ICTR/WEEKLY SUMMARY - GENOCIDE-CONVICT BAGOSORA TAKES FLOOR FOR NZIRORERA - Arusha, June 25, 2010 (FH) -The trial of Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of MRND, then Rwandan ruling party, resumed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week, with genocide-convict Theoneste Bagosora taking the floor to defend him.
On the first day of his testimony on Friday, Bagosora who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1994 genocide almost gave evidence on his own defence and never testified on accusations involving Nzirorera.
Bagosora, who has already appealed against the verdict, is considered to have master-minded the killings, which claimed lives of about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in a 100-day slaughter.
Hearing of the case continues next Monday when he is expected to go into details on Nzirorera's indictment. In the trial, Nzirorera is jointly tried with his co-top MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera with crimes committed by members of their party. Karemera has already completed his defence case.
Meanwhile, American lawyer Peter Robinson, counsel for Nzirorera, requested the Tribunal's registrar to reconsider his decision, refusing to allow him to withdraw from defending the accused following discovery of new facts, backing his move and fear of being prosecuted as was the case of Peter Erlinder in Rwanda recently.
Erlinder has already been granted bail on medical grounds. Robinson contended that on June 9, 2010, when the registrar gave his decision, he had not established the link of Erlinder's charges with his work as defence counsel at ICTR, thus his conclusion was incorrect.
And the Tribunal will next Wednesday deliver its judgment in the case of the oldest genocide-accused and former Rwandan businessman, Yusuf Munyakazi, on June 30. The 75 year old Munyakazi pleaded not guilty to genocide or alternatively complicity in genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.
© Hirondelle News Agency
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