Arusha, June 24, 2002 (FH) - The President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) South African Judge Navanethem Pillay on Monday adjourned the trial of former Minister of information in the Rwandan interim government, Eliézer Niyitegeka. Judge Pillay, who is presiding this case in ICTR's Trial Chamber One, said the case would resume on Wednesday afternoon.

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The adjournment is to allow prosecution witnesses time to travel to Arusha. Prosecutor Kenneth Fleming made an application for the adjournment, saying that the situation the prosecution was facing was inevitable. "What we have is an unusual circumstance," said Fleming. He also urged the court to take into account the magnitude and complexity of the crime the accused in the case is facing. The case was previously adjourned last Thursday, when the prosecution said that new travel documentation introduced by the Rwandan government had hampered the travel of the witnesses. The chief of the witness protection unit Pakistani, Saleem Vahidy informed the court that witnesses now required documents that were not earlier required and that this took time. Headded he could not give any guarantee on the arrival of any of the witnesses. On Thursday the court ordered the Rwandan authorities to facilitate the travel of witnesses. On Monday, Vahidy said last week's court order had been conveyed to officials of the Rwanda government. He added that two of the required set of documents had been obtained for a number of witnesses and that hisdepartment was still pursuing the remaining ones. In its Monday decision, the court said that in the light of more information from the ICTR witness protection unit and given that the order to the Rwandan government was made on Thursday, it was not only courteous but also reasonable that the government would need some time to react to the decision. Only two witnesses have testified since the trial of the former minister started on June 17th; a prosecution investigator, Dutch policeman, Antonio Leucassen and a protected witness, "GK". The case was adjourned after the testimony of GK, when the court issued an order to the Rwandan government to cooperatewith the Tribunal and facilitate the travel of witnesses. Niyitegeka faces ten charges including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, rape and murder. The prosecution says the accused is responsible for massacres committed in Bisesero (Kibuye province, western Rwanda) and elsewhere in the country, between the 6th April and the 17th July 1994. Sylvia Hannah Geraghty of the United Kingdom representing (lead counsel) and Feargal Kavanagh of Ireland (co-counsel) are representing Niyitegeka. Kavanagh were opposed to an adjournment being granted to the prosecution, saying it infringed the rights of his client. The Niyitegeka trial is being held before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, comprising Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Andresia Vaz of Senegal. SW/JA/FH (NI-0624e)