Arusha, June 11, 2001 (FH) The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday postponed to the following day the scheduled start of the "Butare Trial", owing mainly to defence complaints that documents had not been disclosed. The ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, which is hearing the case, ruled that defence and prosecution sort out preliminary matters before the trial could start.

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The Butare trial groups former Minister for Family and Women's Affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, former Butare prefects Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo and former mayors of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi and Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje. Trial Chamber Two is composed of judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) and Winston Churchhill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). "The opening was set for 3 pm but we will give you (defence) time to work in cooperation with the Registrar and prosecution," Judge Sekule said. He added that: "the opening address will be tomorrow at 9. 30 am. "Defence teams for most of the accused had raised problems with regard to documents, while Ntahobali said that he wanted to reject his lawyers and represent himself in court until he is assigned new ones. Ntahobali is represented by René Saint-Leger of Canada and co-counsel James Michael Bailey of the US. "It is impossible for me to work with these lawyers," Ntahobali told the court, adding that he had not consulted them since February. The Chamber ruled that his lawyers would continue to represent him until it had rendered a decision on his motion to reject them. Nteziryayo's lead counsel Titinga Frédéric Pacere from Burkina Faso told the Chamber that his client needed documents in French but did not have them. "On the eve of the trial, we have 48 documents and 40 of these are in English," he said. " Documents required for commencement (of the case) should be made in a language he understands. "Both Pacere and Canadian lawyer Guy Poupart for Nyiramasuhuko said that prosecution disclosure of documents was inadequate, and that they would not be able to cross-question the first witness without further information. The court also heard that defence had not seen photographs and videos to be used in the testimony of the first prosecution witness. However, prosecutor Silvana Arbia of Italy said that none of the defence teams had requested documents or exhibits. She said that if they did, prosecution would oblige. SW/JC/FH (BT0611e)