Arusha, June 6, 2002 (FH) - The defence of former mayor of Rusumo (Kibungo province east of Rwanda) Sylvestre Gacumbitsi on Thursday presented a motion before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) seeking modifications to the accused's indictment. Gacumbitsi's defence counsel Cameroonian Kouengoua told the court that his client cannot be accused of genocide and at the same time be charged with complicity in genocide.

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"It is not possible to say that he is both a perpetrator and also carrying out a crime," said the counsel. He added that it was up to the prosecution to say what Gacumbitsi is guilty of and not the duty of his client to state: "I wasn't here or I didn't do this and that". The counsel maintained that the details in the indictment are vague and imprecise rendering it incomprehensible for both the accused and his defence. Gacumbitsi is accused of genocide or in the alternative complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity, murder, rape and crimes against humanity. The defence also sought for the withdrawal of the rape charge against the former mayor saying there is no evidence he personally committed the offence. But the prosecution maintained that it was not the opportune time to review the merits of the evidence on this charge and that any decisions on the merits would arise during trial. The Chamber is deliberating on the motion and the accused's case is yet to commence. The motion on Thursday was heard before ICTR's Trial Chamber Three comprising of Judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding) Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/FH (GC-0606e)