Arusha, March 15, 2001(FH) The trial of former Rwandan mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli, which started on Tuesday, has been postponed to July 2nd, reports the independent news agency Hirondelle. Presiding judge Laity Kama of Senegal said this was to allow the suspect’s bilingual co-counsel to be present, as had been agreed between the parties.

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Kajelijeli’s case was originally due to start in January but was postponed to this week because of a defence request for more time and a prosecution request to amend the indictment. Kajelijeli’s US lawyer Lennox Hinds argued that his co-counsel Richard Harvey was unavailable and that he himself needed time to sort out problems at his law firm. Harvey is currently involved in the Bloody Sunday inquiry in Northern Ireland. He speaks English and French, which is more easily understood by the accused. Kajelijeli was mayor of Mukingo, in the northwest Rwandan prefecture of Ruhengeri, during the 1994 genocide. He is charged with eleven counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. In his opening statement on Tuesday, prosecutor Ken Fleming of Australia said his team would bring fifteen witnesses to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had played a leading role in killings in and around Mukingo. He said the witnesses would include a mother who had seen her 15-year-old daughter raped at Kajelijeli’s command. On Wednesday morning, the court heard prosecution investigator Antonius Maria Tony Lucassen of the Netherlands, who appeared as an expert witness for the prosecution. Lucassen presented a series of photographs and maps of sites where the alleged crimes were committed. Defence lawyer Hinds asked that the name of Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary-General of the then-presidential party MRND be struck from the documents, because his client was not being tried with Nzirorera. He also asked that the investigator’s comments be struck from the record because they were based on hearsay. The court threw out his motion. The charges against Kajelijeli include conspiracy to commit genocide. Prosecutor Fleming said witnesses would testify that the accused was "Nzirorera’s right-hand man". Photos presented by Lucassen included one of Nzirorera’s house. Kajelijeli was arrested in Cotonou, Benin, on June 5th, 1998. His case is being heard by Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of Judges Laïty Kama of Senegal (presiding), William H. Sekule of Tanzania and Mehmet Güney of Turkey. This is the first trial to open before this Chamber for nearly two years. JC/MBR/FH (KJ_0315e)