Nkezabera’s trial to start afresh in Belgian court

The Assize Court of Brussels has granted prominent Genocide suspect Ephraim Nkezabera’s application for a retrial.

The Assize Court of Brussels has granted prominent Genocide suspect Ephraim Nkezabera’s application for a retrial.

Nkezabera - nicknamed "Banker of the Genocide", had opposed a 30-year jail term that was handed to him in December, on the grounds that he was absent during the trial.

The court found him guilty of Genocide and crimes against humanity, including murder and rape, committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

According to news agencies, the court granted Nkezabera’s request on claims that he could not attend his trial because he was suffering from cancer.

Prosecution Spokesperson, Augustin Nkusi, described the development as a normal legal procedure taken when an accused person is absent on grounds of illness, but cautioned that Nkezabera should use the time to tell the truth in court.

“Evidence is there pinning him on the crimes he committed. Let’s hope he will speak the truth,” Nkusi said.

Another reliable Prosecution source said that the court might have to examine circumstances that led him not to attend the first trial and that it’s from there that it will decide on whether to begin the case afresh.

The 57 year old Genocide suspect was at the time of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis one of the five Directors of the Commercial Bank of Rwanda (BCR).

During the judicial investigation, he is said to have confirmed arming and financing Interahamwe militia who spearheaded the Genocide. 

He also admitted that during a public meeting in 1993, he had encouraged the Interahamwe to carry out massacres and also made financial contributions to the notorious RTLM radio station, which openly called for the killing of ethnic Tutsis on its airwaves. However, the accused rejected the charge of rape.

Nkezabera, who was living in Brussels, was arrested in June 2004, at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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