Arusha, July 1, 2002 (FH) - The trial of two ex-politicians and a military officer accused of genocide crimes in Cyangugu, southwest of Rwanda resumed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) proceeding mainly without the public being present. This trial groups former Transport Minister André Ntagerura, former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki and former commander of the Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu, Samuel Imanishimwe.

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Prosecution maintains that all three are guilty of massacres of Tutsis in Cyangugu during the 1994 genocide. They havepleaded not guilty. The trial was adjourned on May 29th, after the testimony of the twenty-seventh defence witness for Ntagerura. The prosecution closed its case last November after the testimony of 41 prosecution witnesses. Ntagerura's defence started its case in March. On Monday, Ntagerura's defence requested some time in the morning to prepare the twenty-eighth witness known only as "BCH" for protection of identity. Ntagerura's lead counsel Canadian Benoit Henry told the court the witness had arrived only the night before the hearing. When proceedings resumed in the afternoon, BCH's testimony was heard in camera. According to Ntagerura's defence, the testimony of this witness will be followed by that of a defence investigator Canadian Léonard Brochu, and another protected witness, "HR2" will testify next. The defence also said they would file a written motion requesting that another protected witness "K1H", who is unable to come to Arusha, be heard by the Chamber through video-conference. If the defence motion is granted, this will be the second time that a witness will be heard in this fashion; the first was in thecase referred to as 'the Media Trial'. Witness K1H is expected to be the last factual witness. Several expert witnesses are set to testify before Ntagerura's own testimony. After Ntagerura, his co-accused will present their cases, starting with Imanishimwe and with Bagambiki coming last. 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. Trial Chamber Three is also hearing the case of former Bicumbi mayor Laurent Semanza in which closing arguments from defence and prosecution were heard last month. Also before this Chamber is the case referred to as the 'Military Trial,' which is set to resume in September. SW/JA/DO/FH (CY-0701e)