Arusha, November 14, 2001 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday adjourned the genocide trial of former Rwandan mayor Laurent Semanza to November 20th, for lack of defence witnesses. Semanza's lawyers told the court they were having difficulties bringing fact witnesses, and also asked for more time to produce the reports of two experts.

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They asked that hearings be postponed to 2002. However, the court ruled that the remaining witnesses would be heard before the end of the year, with the exception of the accused himself, who will be heard after the end-of-year judicial break. The court also gave the defence until the end of November to submit reports of the expert witnesses it wants to bring, or risk having those experts struck from the witness list. Semanza is represented by Charles Taku of Cameroon/USA and Sadikou Alao of Benin. Nineteen defence witnesses have been heard so far. The last witness, a Hutu woman dubbed "PFM", testified mainly in camera. Defence plan to bring a further six witnesses. Semanza, a former mayor of Bicumbi (Kigali prefecture in central Rwanda), is charged with 14 counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape and persecution in Bicumbi and Gikoro communes. He has pleaded not guilty. The trial began on October 16th, 2000. It is before Trial Chamber Three, composed of judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JC/DO/FH (SE1114e)