Arusha, August 30, 2002 (FH) - The lead counsel of Rwandan former military officer Major Aloys Ntabakuze, Clemente Monterosso of Canada has resigned. In a statement available to the press, Monterosso stated that he was leaving Aloys Ntabakuze 'following a disagreement over the progress of this case'.

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He however stated that this should not affect the excellent defence that he would present when the time comes to demonstrate his innocence. Monterosso did not reveal the nature of the conflict. “Specifying the nature of our conflict breaches the confidentiality of our professional relation,” he said. The withdrawal of Monterosso comes in the wake of the resumption of the trial of his client, jointly charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with three other senior military officers of the Rwandan Armed Forces. Commonly referred to as the 'Military Trial' the trial is scheduled to resume on Monday, September 2nd. Ntabakuze is jointly charged with Théoneste Bagosora, former advisor at the Rwandan defence ministry, commanders in the former Rwandan army: Anatole Nsengiyumva and Gratien Kabiligi. The four have denied genocide charges for crimes committed during the 1994 massacres in Rwanda. The trial which started on April 2nd, was adjourned the following day to allow the prosecution to prepare for the case. All four accused boycotted the opening of their case arguing their rights had been violated through delayed disclosure of documents. Observers are hopeful that Monterosso's departure will not delay resumption of proceeding. It is anticipatedthat his Canadian co-counsel Andre Tremblay will replaced him. Ntabakuze was arrested in Kenya in July 1997. It is the second time that he has replaced his lead counsel. His first defence counsel was Simonette Rakotondramanitra of Madagascar. The hearing 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. GA/SW/AT/FH (ML-0828e)