Arusha, July 8, 2002 (FH) - Former military officer, Samuel Imanishimwe one of three people accused of genocide crimes in Cyangugu (southwest Rwanda), should be ready to start his defence at the end of September the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), his counsel said on Monday. The court adjourned until Thursday to facilitate the travel to Arusha of defence witnesses for ex-minister André Ntagerura, whose case is currently in process and nearing completion.

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Imanishimwe's case is to start after that of Ntagerura. Imanishimwe ex-commander of the Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu is being tried jointly with ex-Transport and Communications Minister Ntagerura and former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki. Prosecution maintains that all three are guilty of massacres of Tutsis in Cyangugu during the 1994 genocide. They have pleaded not guilty. Ntagerura began his defence in March and his counsel have listed him as the last witness. His defence counsel Canadian, Benoit Henry and Hamuli Rety of France and Democratic Republic of Congo argued that they were not ready to proceed with the testimony of Ntagerura before other scheduled witnesses had testified. Henry told the court that one witness Rwandan, Antoine Nyetera had overcome immigration problems following the intervention of the Tribunal Registry and would be able to travel in time to testify on Thursday morning. Ntagerura's defence had listed Nyetera and three others, Wayne Madsen of USA, Uwe Friesecke of Germany, Lucien Hounkpatin of France and Benin as expert witnesses. However, the court allowed Nyetera to testify as factual witnesses and rejected Friesecke's and Madsen's reports. On Thursday morning, the parties presented their arguments concerning Hounkpatin's report, which deals with two main ideas; "the collective memory and fears of the Rwandans", and "who fired the first shot". Prosecution urged the court not to allow him to testify as a witness saying that his report seeks to "distort the fact-finding mission (of the Chamber)". Prosecutor Richard Karegyesa of Uganda terms the report as a psycho-psychiatric analysis that blames one party for sparking off the Rwandan crisis. He adds that the report also blames the killings on the "general madness" or "collective insanity of Rwandans" and argues that the writer did not actually certify whether the people were actually "mad" as he alleges or fully alert. Rety told the court that expert's testimony was important and that the prosecution was "afraid of it". The court said it would inform the parties of the decision on this witness in due course. Ntagerura's defence said they were ready to proceed with Nyetera's testimony on Thursday morning while awaiting the decision on the expert and that Ntagerura could testify next week. Imanishimwe's lead counsel Cameroonian, Marie-Louise Mbida filed a motion seeking further protection of witnesses set to testify in defence of her client and whose identity may have been divulged. She said that if disclosure of documents was made well before the start of the defence case on September 30th, there was no guarantee the prosecution would not try to contact her witnesses. Mbida asked that the prosecution contact Imanishimwe's defence before making contact with any of the scheduled defence witnesses. However, prosecution responded that "her fears are unfounded" and that there were no compelling reasons as to why extra (protection) measures should be taken. The presiding judge Lloyd George Williams said it was not clear what Imanishimwe's defence was asking of the court. Mbida said she would liase with the ICTR's witness protection unit to determine exactly what additional measures could be offered and provide this information to the court when the hearing resumes. The trial is before ICTR's Trial Chamber Three, composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JA/FH (CY-0708e)