Arusha, July 25, 2001 (FH) - The defence team for former Rwandan mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that its witnesses feared coming to testify, owing to "Rwandan government influence" in the dismissal of Kajelijeli'sinvestigator Augustin Basebya. Basebya was one of four ICTR defence investigators sacked by the Tribunal on suspicion of crimes related to the 1994 genocide.

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The ICTR said Basebya and two of the other dismissed investigators were on Rwanda's Category One list of top genocide suspects. "They (witnesses) are now saying that if the Tribunal is unable to protect an investigator, then it can not protect them," Kajelijeli's American lawyer Lennox Hinds told the court. Hinds reiterated his allegation that the government of Rwanda was trying to sabotage his team. Rwanda has denied this. Trial adjourned to October 1stMeanwhile, Kajelijeli's trial was on Wednesday adjourned until October 1st. Hearings had been due to continue to Friday, July 27th but were suspended two and a half days early because one of the three judges, Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar, had other commitments. Two detainee witnesses from Rwanda were in Arusha waiting to testify. It is unclear whether they will remain in UN detention in Arusha until the trial resumes, or be taken back to Rwanda. The trial adjourned after hearing the eighth prosecution witness, dubbed "GOA" to protect his identity. The prosecution intends to call seven more witnesses before it rests its case. GOA, a confessed killer jailed in Rwanda, testified that Kajelijeli had been a very powerful man, on whose orders many Tutsis had been killed and raped during the 1994 genocide. Hinds contested GOA's testimony in court, saying that it differed significantly from statements he made to prosecution investigators. Hinds suggested that GOA was not a reliable witness. The case is before Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. The Chamber has now gone into its annual judicial recess, along with the ICTR's other two courts. Trial Chamber Two is due to reconvene on September 3rd, to start the trial of former Rwandan minister of higher education Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda. Initial hearings in that case are due torun until September 27th. In October, the court will hear Kajelijeli's case for a week before resuming the so-called Butare trial of six accused. GG/JC/MBR/FH (KJ0725e)