Arusha, September 20, 2002 (FH) - Five defence witnesses in the trial of ex-mayor of Mukingo (Ruhengeri Province, northwest of Rwanda) Juvénal Kajelijeli, have testified in camera since the case resumed on September 16th, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The witnesses going by pseudo-names for protection testified in camera to avoid responding to questions in open session, in a manner that might reveal their identities.

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According to sources close to the defence, these are witnesses that would have been easily recognised if proceedings had been held in open session. The five defence witnesses JK312, JK311, JK27, LMR1, and SMR2, Hirondelle learnt, testified mainly on alibi defence for Kajelijeli. Another witness DMR3 is also scheduled to give evidence on alibi defence. Kajelijeli is charged with eleven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution accuses him of having organised and participated in the massacres of Tutsis in his native commune of Mukingo and also in neighbouring communes, in 1994. He has pleaded not guilty. The witnesses who gave Kajelijeli alibi defence stated that the accused was in different locations from what the prosecution maintains, on the dates he was alleged to have committed crimes. The case is before the ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, composed of judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar. BN/SW/FH (KJ-0920e)