Arusha, May 26th, 2000 (FH) - The defence counsel for former Rwandan mayor Ignace Bagilishema on Thursday asked the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to order prosecution disclosure of certain documents, saying he had tried to get them from the Rwandan authorities but failed. French lawyer François Roux was presenting two requests for disclosure of documents, which he said were vital to the case.

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He is asking for the minutes of security meetings held in Kibuye prefecture, western Rwanda, between March and July 1994, which are specifically mentioned in Bagilishema's indictment. Bagilishema was mayor of Mabanza commune in Kibuye prefecture at the time of the genocide, which left some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead between April and July 1994. He faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. "If the prosecutor talks in the indictment about the different meetings in which the accused took part, he must have the documents, and he should communicate them to us as stipulated in the Rules [of the Tribunal]," Roux told the court. The defence is also asking for disclosure of confession statements to the Rwandan authorities by three prosecution witnesses who have testified against Bagilishema. Roux said these were "indispensable to discovering the truth", adding that "we have reason to believe that their confessions to the Rwandan authorities do not correspond with their statements made to this court". Roux was referring to protected witnesses Y, Z and AA. Bagilishema's French defence counsel said his team had done all in their powers to obtain the said documents from the Rwandan authorities, but in vain. He told the court he had contacted the Rwandan Interior Ministry in September 1999, without success, and been refused a meeting there in March this year. He showed the court a letter to the prefect of Kibuye, sent on November 5th, 1999, that had still not received a reply. "Everyone is aware of the difficulties that the defence has encountered at the offices of Kibuye prefecture," he said. "The Tribunal knows, they showed us a room full of archives that did not have anything on the period that interests us. ""If the prefect of Kibuye and the prosecutor refuse to give certain documents to the defence, it must be that these documents are favorable to the accused," Roux also told the court. However, prosecutors denied that they had the documents. "I submit that the lack of co-operation of a state, through any of its agents, does not obligate the prosecution to disclose matters and documents of a third party," Charles Adeogun Phillips of Nigeria also told the court. . UNAMIR soldiers to testify?Bagilishema's defence team also asked the court to order that three former soldiers of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR) come to testify. They say the three were in Kibuye at the time of the alleged crimes. In particular, Roux said the UNAMIR soldiers attended a meeting on April 9th, 1994, at which Bagilishema says he asked the prefecture for reinforcements against "Abakiga" attackers from the north who were persecuting Tutsis. The court is deliberating on the motions. Bagilishema's trial is due to resume on Monday with the testimonies of two expert witnesses for the defence. The trial began on September 27th, 1999, before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR. The chamber is composed of Judge Erik Mose of Norway presiding, Judge Mehmet Güney of Turkey and Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka. BN/JC/FH (BS%0525e)