Tuesday, February 10, 2009
The trial of a Rwandan investigator accused of trying to fabricate evidence for the appeal of a former minister of higher education convicted of genocide started today at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Léonidas Nshogoza has been charged with two counts of contempt of the Tribunal and two counts of attempting to commit acts punishable as contempt against the ICTR. The indictment accuses Mr. Nshogoza of intending to fabricate evidence and procure false statements for use in the appeal of the conviction and sentencing of former Minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda. It also accuses him of interfering in the administration of justice. Mr. Nshogoza, who was the investigator for the defence in the case of Prosector v. Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, voluntarily surrendered to the ICTR in February 2008 after an international warrant was issued for his arrest.
In its opening statement in Trial Chamber III, the prosecution said that the charges were very serious because they involved an attempt to pervert justice in a genocide case, adding that it had evidence to support the evidence fabrication charges and intent to procure false evidence. Former Minister Kamuhanda is serving concurrent life sentences after being convicted of genocide and extermination by the ICTR, which found that he had supervised the killings in his native Gikomero commune in the Kigali-Rural prefecture. He distributed firearms, grenades and machetes to the Hutu Interahamwe militia and led attacks at the parish church and adjoining school in Gikomero, where several thousand Tutsi civilians were killed.
(Adapted from a UN Press release issued today)