Today, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda began the trial of three former Senior Officials from the Interim Government of Rwanda. Edouard Karemera, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and Joseph Nzirorera, appeared before Trial Chamber III as ICTR Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow gave his opening statement in the case.
The accused are charged with seven counts including: conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, genocide, alternatively complicity in genocide, rape and extermination as crimes against humanity, and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions. All three accused pleaded not guilty to all charges against them during their 21 March 2005 further initial appearance.
Edouard Karemera was former Minister of Interior and Vice-Chairman of the Mouvement Révolutionnaire National pour le Développement et la Démocratie (MRND) party. Mathieu Ngirumpatse was former Director General for Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the MRND party. Joseph Nzirorera was former Minister of Industry, Mines and Handcraft, former Speaker of the Rwandan Parliament, and National Secretary of the MRND party.
The Prosecutor’s team is headed by Senior Trial Attorney Don Webster who said the prosecution will provide evidence that the accused were directly and personally involved in setting up the genocidal policy and the means to implement it.
The Defense team is composed of Dior Diagne and Félix Sow (Senegal), Peter Robinson (United States), Charles C. Roach (Canada) and Frederic Weyl (France).
The trial is heard by Trial Chamber III composed of Judges Dennis C.M. Byron (Saint-Kitts-and-Nevis), presiding, Emile Francis Short (Ghana) and Gberdao Gustave Kam (Burkina Faso).
The Tribunal also opened the trial of Jean Mpambara before Trial Chamber I. Mpambara, the former bourgmestre of Rukara commune in Kibungo prefecture, is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity (extermination) related to his alleged involvement in the killings in that occurred in Rukara commune between 7 and 16 April 1994. On 29 April 2005, he pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The Prosecution team is led by Senior Trial Attorney Richard Karegyesa (Uganda). The Defence is headed by Arthur Vercken (France)
Trial Chamber I is composed of Judges Jai Ram Reddy (Fiji), presiding, Sergei A. Egorov (Russia), and Flavia Lattanzi (Italy).
The total number of accused with cases completed or in progress at the ICTR is now 51.