Judge Msagha Mbogholi ruled in a Nairobi court on Tuesday that three suspects charged with murdering former Rwandan Interior Minister Seth Sendashonga have a case to answer, and that their trial would continue with the calling of defence witnesses on 22 March, Rwanda News Agency (RNA) reported on Wednesday.
The three accused: David Akiki Kiwanuka, Charles Muhanji and Christopher Lubanga Mulondo, were arrested shortly after Sendashonga and his driver, John Bosco Nkurubukeye, were shot dead in a Nairobi suburb on 16 May 1998, it said. Under Kenyan law, the defence does not call witnesses in a murder trial unless the court finds there is a case to answer.
Defence counsel John Mureithi Waiganjo said he was "shocked" by the court's decision, having expected at least Muhanji and Mulondo to be acquitted, RNA reported. Sendashonga was a member of the political bureau of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which won the Rwandan civil war and ended the genocide in 1994, and was Interior Minister in its first government, the report said.
He resigned in late 1995 - along with the Prime Minister of the time, Faustin Twagarimungu, and two other cabinet members - and later set up a pressure group in Nairobi against the government in Kigali, it added.