Arusha, November 19, 2002 (FH) - Trial chamber Three hearing the case against four military officers and genocide suspects in the so-called Military Trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Tuesday asked the prosecutor to stop raising irrelevant objections to the production of documents by the defence of one of the defendants, General Gratien Kabiligi. Judge Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia told the prosecutor, Barbara Nuluaney, that the rules of the Tribunal have no provisions on objections by counsels.

1 min 39Approximate reading time

"A document can be admitted into evidence. There are no rules of procedure which clearly state how a document can be admitted," the judge said. The prosecutor had objected to the production of several documents by counsel Degli, of France and Togo, the defence of General Gratin Kabiligi. Degli was cross-examining American expert witness Alison Des Forges. Nuluaney argued that the documents were not authentic and had not been translated from French to English. But Judge Dolenc said the prosecution did not have proper grounds to cast doubt on the authenticity of the documents. The chamber overruled the objections raised by the prosecutor on Monday and allowed Kabiligis's defence counsel Jean Degli, to produce the documents which he used to cross-examine Alison Des Forges, a Senior Advisor (Africa Division) for the Human Rights Watch. Des Forges is the first prosecution witness. The military trial groups four former military officers namely; Théoneste Bagosora a former advisor at the Rwandan defence ministry (chef de cabinet), Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, Major Aloys Ntabakuze and General Kabiligi. The President of the Trial Chamber, Judge Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis, also told the prosecutor "to avoid unnecessary interventions" on the production of the documents. Kabiligi's defence counsel continued with cross-questioning of Des Forges on the arming of the civilians and distribution of weapons. Des Forges was shown a section of videotape on the assassination of a Former Rwandan Interior Minister in Kenya in 1998, Seth Sendashonga (Tutsi) that made her emotional. The tape contains an interview of Des Forges about the death of Sendashonga and other issues on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She told the chamber that she could not be able to concentrate and answer questions after watching the clip because the deceased was a personalfriend. The chamber directed that Des Forges, the prosecutor and Jean Degli should watch the 55-minute tape together and agree on the relevant issues, which the witness could be cross-questioned about on Wednesday. The trial is before ICTR's Trial Chamber Three composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis, (presiding) Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia and Andresia Vaz of Senegal. PJ/CE/FH (ML-1119e)