ARUSHA 14 May 2002 (Internews) The so-called “Cyangugu Trial” for three genocide suspects resumed today before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) after a six-week break. The 19th witness for Andre Ntagerura, a former minister of transport and communication in Rwanda, begun his testimony.
Ntagerura is jointly tried with Samuel Imanishimwe, a former commander of the Cyangugu military barracks, and Emmanuel Bagambiki, a former Cyangugu governor. All three have denied charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.
The witness, Jean Ducharne of Canada, is the Dean of Sciences and Management at the University of Quebec, Montreal. His testimony focuses on Ntagerura’s character.
Ducharne told the court that he met Ntagerura when he visited Rwanda for the first time in 1977. Ntagerura was then assistant dean in the Faculty of Sciences and Management at the National University of Rwanda.
He described Ntagerura as a man of integrity who had a reputation for being a rigorous manager both to the administration and the student community. Ducharne taught in the same faculty as Ntagerura between 1977 and 1979.
Prosecution attorney Richard Karegyesa of Uganda objected to Ducharne’s testimony, arguing that it is irrelevant and unnecessary to discuss Ntagerura’s character in the 1970s. “People with no history of violence are capable of planning, instigating and committing atrocities, especially in this particular case of Rwanda,” Karegyesa maintained.
Judge Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding) ruled that the court would hear Ducharne as he is already sworn to testify though the judge did ask Benoit Henry of Canada, lead counsel for Ntagerura, to reduce the number of witnesses scheduled to testify saying they are too many.
“Most of the witnesses you have listed are going to testify about the same area. We should avoid calling witnesses for the sake of calling them,” Judge Williams said.
Henry responded by formally applying to withdraw protected witnesses “H1” and “T11H” from the list. He added that he would inform the chamber in due course on the other witnesses he will consider withdrawing after consulting his client.
The court then adjourned proceedings until Thursday to enable Henry to present his next witness. Henry named the witnesses he intends to present next as “T3H” and “CHD.”
The trial is held before Chamber III of the ICTR, comprising Judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia.