Arusha, November 1, 2001 (FH) - The defence team of genocide suspects and former Bicumbi mayor Laurent Semanza on Thursday made a submission to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) seeking to add four experts to their list of defence witnesses. Lead counsel Charles Taku of Cameroon/USA and co-counsel Sadikou Alao of Benin presented their arguments for the acceptance of the four: Dr Pascal Ndengejeho, a former MDR party member and former Minister of Information in Rwanda (1992-93); Antoine Nyetera, a Tutsi of the royal family; Max Hilaire, an American expert who will testify on international responsibility on the Rwandan situation; and General Henry Kwame Anyihodo, a former deputy chief of the UN peace keeping force in Rwanda.

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Semanza's defence said the witnesses would give evidence on various issues, including inter- ethnic relations in Rwanda from the colonial period, the socio-historic context to the 1994 events and the "moral of the Arusha Peace Accord", among other things. Part of the testimony of these witnesses, according to Alao, would be on events that took place in Bicumbi and Gikoro communes, where Semanza is alleged to have committed his crimes. The witnesses would also tell the court the state of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR) relationship with the previous government in Rwanda and with the pro-Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the counsel said. 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. In their submission, the defence said that the proposed expert witnesses would "shed light on concepts like Inkontanyi (derogatory term for Tutsi), Interahamwe (militia)" and other concepts in relation to their client. Prosecutor Chile Eboe Osuji asked the court to order the defence to produce the reports of the expert witnesses in two weeks. However, the defence argued that until the court had ruled on whether they would be included in the list of witnesses, the experts were not in a position to prepare and forward reports. The court said a ruling on expert witnesses would be delivered in due course. Meanwhile, the defence was asked to provide information on the next factual witness on Friday. The court heard the defence submissions on Thursday because there were no more witnesses in Arusha after a protected witness, CBN, finished her testimony on Wednesday. The defence told the court that the ICTR Witness Protection Unit was making arrangements for the travel of some witnesses who were expected to arrive in Arusha soon. The ICTR allowed the defence witness to present a written statement as evidence because she was pregnant and unable to sit through her testimony. Protected witness CBN is the 15th for the defence. The hearing will continue on Monday before judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JC/PHD/FH (SE1101E)