[JURIST] Joseph Nzirorera [personal website], former president of the Rwanda National Assembly and secretary general of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), died [press release] Thursday following complications from a long illness. Nzirorera was arrested by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] in July 1998 for crimes relating to the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and has since been held in custody, facing a prolonged trial [case materials] that commenced in September 2005. At the time of Nzirorera’s death, the defense was presenting the final stages of its case and was planning to cross-examine their last witness next Monday.
Nzirorea was being tried jointly [JURIST report] with Edouard Karemera, former Minister of Interior and Vice-President of the MRND, and Mathieu Ngirumpatse [case materials], former Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The accused were charged [indictment, PDF] with conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II [text]. The ICTR continues its work to prosecute those most responsible for the Rwandan genocide, in which nearly 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, were killed.