Arusha, September 26, 2001 (FH) The genocide trial of former Rwandan minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda was on Tuesday postponed to January 28th, 2002, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), to make room for other cases. Presiding judge William Sekule of Tanzania explained that the long adjournment was because the court had two other cases scheduled to resume shortly.

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Kamuhanda was Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Rwandan interim government in place during the genocide. His case opened on September 3rd this year and has been adjourned after the hearing of 12 prosecution witnesses. Prosecution plans to bring another "thirteen or fourteen" witnesses. The ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, which is handling his case, is also conducting the trial of former Rwandan mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli, and the joint trial of six people charged with genocide in the southern Rwandan region of Butare. Kajelijeli's case is due to resume from October 1st to 5th, and the Butare case from October 22nd to November 22nd. That will be followed again by Kajelijeli from November 26th to December 13th, then a judicial break. Kamuhanda "directed attack"The twelfth prosecution witness in the Kamuhanda case told the court that the accused had been present at the Protestant parish of Gikomero (Kigali rural prefecture, central Rwanda) when Tutsi refugees were massacred there on April 12th, 1994, and that Kamuhanda's arrival had signalled the start of the slaughter. The witness, dubbed "GEG" to shield his identity, said he was a Tutsi who had lost all his family in 1994. He said he did not know Kamuhanda personally but said when the accused arrived at Gikomero the refugees had all cried out his name, saying that their time had come because Kamuhanda was arriving. The defence tried to demonstrate contradictions between GEG's oral testimony and his previous statements to ICTR investigators. However, the witness said investigators had not written his words down accurately. Most of the previous witnesses also accused Kamuhanda of having directed the April 12th attack on Gikomero. The accused's lawyers plan to bring an alibi in his defence. Kamuhanda is defended by Aicha Condé of Guinea and Grace Amakye of Britain. Trial Chamber Two is composed of judges Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. BN/JC/PHD/FH (KH0926E)