Arusha, November 29th, 2000 (FH) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday adjourned to January next year the trial of the three genocide suspects linked to crimes in the Cyangugu region of southwest Rwanda. Both parties asked the Chamber to postpone the testimony of the 14th prosecution witness, saying there would not be enough time for cross-examination before the year-end judicial recess.

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The so-called Cyangugu trial is being heard by Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of Judges Lloyd Williams of Jamaica (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. This Chamber is also hearing the case against former Rwandan Mayor Laurent Semanza accused of committing crimes during the 1994 genocide in the Bicumbi region, central Rwanda. The two cases are being heard alternately. The Cyangugu trial opened on September 18th. It groups former Transport Minister André Ntagerura, former prefect of Cyangugu Emmanuel Bagambiki, and the ex-commander of Cyangugu military barracks Samuel Imanishimwe. They are jointly accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. Prosecutors say the three accused acted together to try to eliminate the Tutsi population, notably in the Cyangugu region. According to the prosecution, more than 100,000 Tutsis were slaughtered in Cyangugu in the space of 23 days. So far 13 prosecution witnesses have testified. The Trial against Semanza will resume on December 4th up to December 14th. The UN court will take a judicial recess from December 15th to mid January next year. Semanza, 56 a former mayor of Bicumbi, is charged with 14 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity related to massacres of Tutsis in the communes of Gikoro and Bicumbi (central Rwanda) in 1994. At the time of the genocide, Semanza was a nominated member of parliament of the MRND party, and was allegedly very influential. SW/JC/FH (CY%1129e)