Arusha, November 7, 2001 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday adjourned the trial of former Bicumbi mayor Laurent Semanza to next Monday because a defence witness expected to testify had not yet arrived. Wednesday's hearing started in closed session.

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The Registry later told the court that the ICTR witness protection unit was facing some difficulties in bringing witnesses to Arusha and that it would inform the court on progress by the end of Wednesday. Three defence witnesses were expected to testify this week but only two did. The 17th defence witness known as "ZC" to shield identity testified on Tuesday, while the 16th, "CYM3", testified on Monday. Before adjournment, the court heard arguments by Semanza's defence counsel Charles Taku of Cameroon/USA and Sadikou Alao of Benin, on issues that they had presented earlier in court. The defence sought to withdraw an expert witness that they had asked the court to add to their list of witnesses only last week. The court on Monday allowed the defence to add to their list the potential expert witness General Kwame Anyidoho, who was deputy commander with the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda in 1994, and two others. The other two are Pascal Ndengejeho a former minister in Rwanda (1992-1993) and Antoine Nyetera, a Tutsi of the royal family. The defence had wanted four expert witnesses added to their list, but the court approved only three. Prosecutor Chile Eboe Osuji of Canada objected to an "explanation" by Alao as to why Semanza's defence was withdrawing Anyidoho as a potential expert witness. Alao said that their witness would never "have been allowed to testify, let alone give a report to the Tribunal. "Alao also claimed that the media had already speculated on what questions the defence would ask Anyidoho. He did not elaborate which media he was referring to. Osuji objected, saying that if the defence dropped a witness, it was needless to debate on what evidence that witness would have given in court. The trial is before judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JC/PHD/FH (SE1107e)