Arusha, June 19, 2002 (FH) - The trial of former minister of information in the Rwandan interim government, Eliézer Niyitegeka was on Wednesday adjourned to next week Monday by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) because of the lack of prosecution witnesses. The trial, which opened on June 17th, was adjourned after the witness known only as "GK" for the protection of his identity completed giving his evidence.

1 min 33Approximate reading time

There are no more witnesses currently available as those expected from Rwanda were unable to travel. Before GK started his testimony, the court made an order that the Rwanda government comply with the Statute of the Tribunal, which was binding upon states to cooperate with it; and to facilitate the travel of witnesses to Arusha. The judges regretted that a UN plane had made two scheduled flights to Kigali and returned empty. They deplored the waste of time and resources. Presiding Judge South African Navanethem Pillay said that the court wished to draw to the attention of the Rwandan authorities to the legal provisions of the Tribunal, which prevail over national law. Judge Pillay directed the Registry to transmit a copy of the court's decision to the Rwandan authorities adding that the decision unanimous. Niyitegeka faces ten charges including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, rape and murder. He has pleaded not guilty. The first witness in the trial was a prosecution investigator, Dutch policeman, Antonio Leucassen, who showed photographs of sites of alleged massacres. Witness GK who testified next told the court that the massacres in Kibuye started later than they did in other areas. According to the witness, the accused incited the killings of Tutsis who took refuge in Kibuye hospital, fleeing from the attacks. GK told the court that he and others played a role in looking after some children who came to the hospital on May 1st, 1994. GK said the children had survived massacres in April and some were alive to-date. GK described how they disguised refugees as sick people so that they could be accommodated in the hospital and regarded as patients to mislead the attackers. The witness was cross-questioned by Niyitegeka's co-counsel. Sylvia Hannah Geraghty of the United Kingdom (lead counsel) and Feargal Kavanagh of Ireland (co-counsel) are representing Niyitegeka. 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-0619f)