Arusha, October 9, 2001 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday adjourned to October 19th the initial appearance of former Rwandan finance minister Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, to allow him to study the charges against him. "I am in agreement that this hearing should be adjourned to give time for you to read the indictment," Judge Navanethem Pillay of South Africa told the accused and his duty counsel, Jesse Kiritta of Tanzania.

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Ndindabahizi, dressed in a smart, three-piece grey suit with pale pink shirt and tie, told the court he had received the amended indictment in French only the previous day, and had not had time to consult his lawyer. While granting his request for more time, Judge Pillay told the accused it was in his interests to have the initial appearance as soon as possible, so as to receive supporting documents on the charges. "If I asked all these questions, it was not to delay proceedings," Ndindabahizi told the court, saying that he wanted a speedy trial. He said the Prosecution had had six years to investigate the events of 1994 in Rwanda, and that it should not still be amending indictments. "The trial should go ahead even immediately," he said, "and I ask that an early date be set for us to start. "Ndindabahizi complained that documents and items had been seized from his house at the time of his arrest in Belgium. "It was authorized, but it was not authorized to take anything and everything," he protested, demanding that documents be returned. Judge Pillay ordered that the Registry transmit to the accused an inventory of items seized. She told him he would have "many opportunities" to file motions on the seizure of documents and materials, as well as on aspects of the indictment "which you canvas as problematical for you". Ndindabahizi is charged with genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity. According to the indictment he "was Minister of Finance in the Interim Government of 8 April 1994 from its inception until that government fled Rwanda in mid-July 1994". Some 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed during the April to July 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The former minister is charged mainly in connection with massacres of civilians in his home prefecture of Kibuye, in western Rwanda. He is accused of organizing, inciting and supervising massacres, including making public calls for the killing of Tutsis in general and certain individuals in particular. "Emmanuel Ndindabahizi was not merely influential," says the indictment, "he exercised active control over the soldiers, Interahamwe (Hutu militia), gendarmes, communal police, civilian militia and civilians involved in the attacks against those identified as Tutsi. Emmanuel Ndindabahizi gave instructions to those involved in the attacks and those instructions were obeyed. "On the rape charge, which has been added to the emended indictment, the Prosecutor says that he is "liable for the rapes and indecent assaults committed by those under his effective control". The ex-minister was arrested in Belgium on July 12th this year. He was transferred to the UN Detention Facility (UNDF) in Arusha on September 25th. JC/PHD/FH (NB1009e)