Arusha, December 12th, 2002 (FH) - Trial chamber two of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday adjourned the trial of former Mukingo mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli to 31st March next year. The Chamber will be hearing the trial of former Minister for Higher Education and genocide suspect Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda.

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It will commence on January 13th 2003 after the judicial recess and run until January 31st. In February the Butare trial will resume in the same chamber. The presiding Judge, William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania announced the adjournment of the Kajelijeli trial after brief consultations with counsels from the prosecution and the defence. He said the case would continue for four weeks up to April 24th 2003. Ten defence witnesses have testified since the trial resumed on November 18th. Before the adjournment, the chamber heard the testimonies of the last three witnesses entirely in closed session. 24 defence witnesses have testified so far. Kajelijeli's lead counsel, Professor Lennox Hinds of the United States of America informed the chamber that he will be calling five more defence witnesses before closing the case. Two of them, a professor dubbed FXB and a doctor PN, will testify as expert witnesses. The others are colonel FMB and MLNA. Kajelijeli will be the last witness to testify in his defence and is expected to remain two days on the witness stand. Counsel Hinds told the chamber that he expects all the five remaining witnesses to complete their testimonies in two and half weeks. Kajelijeli has pleaded not guilty to eleven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution maintains that he instigated, planned and participated in the killing of Tutsis in Mukingo and adjoining communes in 1994. The prosecution closed its case on April 10, 2002, after presenting 14 witnesses. The trial started in March 13th 2001. The trial is before ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, comprising Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) Winston Churchhill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). PJ/CE/FH (KJ-1212e)