Arusha, November 22, 2001 (FH) - The trial of six former leaders accused of genocide in the southern Rwandan prefecture of Butare in 1994 was on Thursday adjourned to March 4th, 2002, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), to make way for another case. The trial is alternating before the ICTR's Trial Chamber Two with two other genocide cases: that of former minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda; and that of former Rwandan mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli.

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Kajelijeli's trial is scheduled to resume next Monday and continue to December 13th. After a judicial break, the court will then resume the Kamuhanda case. The so-called "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. This trial began on June 12, 2001, and adjourned after the hearing of the fifth prosecution witness. Presiding judge William Sekule of Tanzania urged the parties to work during the break to help expedite the trial. He said he hoped that questioning and cross-questioning of witnesses would be brief but would cover everything necessary to speed up proceedings. The Butare trial is the biggest case currently before the ICTR. Observers suggest that it could be lengthy, given the current duration of witness testimonies. For example, both the first prosecution witness (an ICTR investigator) and the third one (a rape victim) were kept on the stand for two weeks. Shortly before the adjournment, the court decided to keep in the UN Detention Facility (UNDF) in Arusha three detainee witnesses from Rwanda who were not able to testify during this session. The Rwandan detainees have been in the UNDF since October 25th. Their initial transfer order provided that they would stay in Arusha for three weeks. However, according to ICTR Rules, a judge or a Chamber can extend the period if the witness's continued presence is deemed necessary. Given that the prosecution intends to call them in the next session, the court ordered that witnesses FAM, QBV and QCB be kept temporarily in the UNDF, until the Chamber decide otherwise. BN/JC/FH (BT1122E)