Arusha, December 13, 2001 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday adjourned the genocide trial of former Rwandan mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli to next April. The case is set to resume on April 8th, as the court will be hearing another case in January.

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Kajelijeli's trial was adjourned after the hearing of 14 prosecution witnesses. In a separate development, Kajelijeli's US lawyer Lennox Hinds complained that the court had still not heard his "urgent motion", filed on November 22nd , which accuses Rwandan Deputy Prosecutor Rukira wa Muhizi of intimidating witnesses. He pointed out that witness intimidation is a crime, saying that if anyone were suspected of intimidating a prosecution witness at the ICTR "within the blink of an eye, you'd be wearing handcuffs". Hinds also told a press conference that Rwandan and ICTR prosecutors had "built a Chinese wall" to stop defence getting access to detainee prosecution witness confession statements. He said he would file a motion to try to enforce a court order on disclosure of these documents. "We have maintained that when these witnesses were detained, at the time they were arrested and gave their statements, they did not mention Kajelijeli," said Hinds. Hinds said that when he visited Rwanda, his contacts with Rwandan officials had been "cordial", and he had managed to obtain the confession statements of one detainee witness. Since then, however, the Rwandan Prosecutor has written to say that the documents cannot be disclosed for security reasons. Hinds argued that if security was a concern, the statements could be redacted. He said he believed Rwanda was deliberately obstructing the course of justice. Kajelijeli was mayor of Mukingo (Ruhengeri prefecture, northwest Rwanda) during the 1994 genocide. He has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Prosecution maintains he instigated, planned and participated in the killing of ethnic Tutsi in Mukingo and adjoining communes in 1994. The case is before the ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, composed of judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar. SW/JC/FH (KJ1213e)