Arusha, November 7th, 2000 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday authorized a separate trial for former Rwandan minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda whose co-accused is still on the run, the independent news agency Hirondelle reports. "The court is granting Kamuhanda severance on the principle of a suspect's right to be tried without undue delay," explained Judge Mehmet Güney of Turkey.

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Court President Judge Laity Kama of Senegal said the parties should do their utmost to ensure the trial could start in February 2001. Kamuhanda was Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the interim government that presided over the 1994 genocide, a position he held from late May to mid-July 1994. Prior to that, he was counsellor to interim President Théodore Sindikubwabo. The motion for severance was submitted by Kamuhanda's defence team on October 20th, 2000, and was accepted by the prosecution which said the request was in the interests of justice. Trial Chamber Two, composed of Judges Kama, Güney and William Sekule of Tanzania, also ordered the Prosecutor to prepare a new indictment for Kamuhanda by November 15th. In an initial appearance before the court early this year, Kamuhanda pleaded not-guilty to all nine charges against him. They include conspiracy to commit genocide; genocide or, alternatively, complicity in genocide; violations of the Geneva Conventions on war crimes; and crimes against humanity, including rape. Kamuhanda was arrested in the French town of Bourges on November 26th last year and transferred to the ICTR detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania, on March 7th. GG/JC/FH (KH%1107e)