Arusha, March 1st, 2001 (FH) - The case against former Bicumbi mayor Laurent Semanza, charged with genocide in central Rwanda in 1994, will resume on March 6th before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Semanza is charged with 14 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including rape.

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He was arrested in Cameroon in March 1996 and made his initial appearance at the Tribunal in February 1998. Prosecution witnesses have testified that, among other things, Semanza called for presidential guards to assist in the killing of Tutsis in Ruhanga area, central Rwanda, and also incited the population in public meetings to take up arms and kill Tutsis. The case adjourned last December for the end of year judicial recess. It is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of Judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), Lloyd Williams of Jamaica and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. The case started on October 16th last year. Nine prosecution witnesses have testified so far. Semanza is represented by Charles Taku (Cameroon/US) and Sadikou Alao (Benin). SW/JC/PHD/FH (CY_0301e)