Arusha 13th April (FH) - The trial against Ignace Bagilishema, former mayor of Mabanza in the Western Kibuye prefecture, is to restart on 25th April, according to the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda legal calendar. Having started 27th September last year, the proceedings were suspended in mid-February after the presentation of the case for the prosecution.

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The testimonies of eighteen witnesses were heard, including that of French sociologist Andre Guichaoua, who was called as expert witness. Ignace Bagilishema has pleaded not guilty to charges of the massacre of Tutsis in four communes of the Kibuye prefecture. The Defence team of Bagilishema requested that proceedings be suspended after one of the investigators lost several documents in an air crash. The next stage of the trial will be the hearing of the witnesses for the Defence. Bagilishema will appear before the First Chamber presided over by the Norwegian judge Eric Mose, the Sri Lankan Asoka de Zosya Gunwardena and the Turkish judge Mehmet Guney. He will be represented by the French lawyer, M. Francois Roux and the Mauritanian, M. Daroufa Diabira. The tribunal went to Rwanda just before the beginning of the trial to visit the scene of the alleged crimes. Ignace Bagilishema, 45 years old, was mayor of the Mabanza commune from February 1980 to July of 1994. He was apprehended on the 20th February 1999 by the South African authorities and transferred the same day to the ICTR. He figured in the first bill of indictment released in 1995 by the ICTR that featured seven other people of whom two, former Prefect Clement Kayishema and businessman Obed Ruzindana, have already been convicted. In November of last year, the Court ordered separate proceedings against Bagilishama, the former mayor of Mabanza. AT/TR/PHD/FH (BS%0413E)