Arusha, July 3rd, 2001 (FH) - The restart of the trial of former Rwandan mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli was postponed yet again, on Tuesday, at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). On Monday, Kajelijeli's American defence counsel Lennox Hinds told the court he had problems communicating with his French-speaking client and his co-counsel, because their bilingual investigator was held up in Zimbabwe with visa problems.

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The court granted the lawyer's request for 24 hours within which he would try to resolve the problem. On Tuesday, he told the court that he had found "someone to help with translation". "That person is agreeable with my client, who trusts that confidentiality will be ensured," Hinds continued. He said that the defence would be able to proceed with the case Wednesday morning. The court granted an adjournment but stressed that "trial will have to start tomorrow (Wednesday)". 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. The trial started on March 13th this year but has to be restarted because the Trial Chamber has been recomposed after the death in May of former presiding judge Laity Kama of Senegal and the appointment of two new judges to the ICTR. The recomposed Trial Chamber Two, hearing the case, is composed of Judge William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding) and new judges Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. Hinds asked that the Chamber grant a status conference to discuss various matters. He said he had been granted sabbatical leave to deal with the case "in six months" and did not want to "come to Arusha in July only to have to come back in September". But lead prosecuting attorney Ken Fleming of Australia said that Hinds was being "very presumptuous". "At no time has it been said by this Trial Chamber that the case would start and run through," he added. Kajelijeli's case is due to alternate with two others before Trial Chamber Two. Fleming said the court had granted Hinds requests at his convenience but that he (Hinds) was not considering that the Chamber had other business. "There seems not be any sign from my learned friend (Hinds) to commence this trial," said Fleming. Hinds, however, maintained that "my interest is in moving forward this case". Presiding Judge Sekule advised the parties to prepare for a status conference for Friday and adjourned the proceedings to Wednesday morning when the trial is expected to start. SW/MBR/FH (KJ0703e)