Arusha, May 22, 2002 (FH) - The trial of two ex-politicians and a former military officer from Cyangugu in southwest Rwanda was on Wednesday adjourned to next week at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). This trial groups former Transport Minister Andre 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 have pleaded not guilty. The twenty-sixth defence witness for Ntagerura completed his testimony on Wednesday afternoon. The witness known only as "NH" for protection of identity testified mainly in camera. Before him, witnesses "AH", "OH" and "QH" testified between Monday afternoon and Tuesday mostly in camera, as well. In his evidence, witness NH gave details on the operations of the public buses in Rwanda, called ONATRACOM. He said that there were bus inspectors in charge of the buses. Ntagerura was the Minister of Transport and Communications in the interim government of 1994. He is said to have allowed or authorised the use of government vehicles, specifically buses for the transportation of Interahamwe (militia), as well as for the transportation of arms and ammunitions to Cyangugu prefecture. After the testimony of NH, Ntagerura's lead counsel Canadian Benoit Henry informed the court that he was withdrawing one witness "PH" who was expected to testify after NH. There was no objection from the prosecution. However, prosecutor Ugandan, Richard Karegyesa said the prosecution would like to interview PH because earlier testimony by a prosecution witness, had touched extensively on PH. Ntagerura's defence objected saying that the rules of procedure do not allow the prosecution to question PH out of court since he will no longer testify as a defence witness. "I vigorously object," said Henry. Karegyesa said that an earlier ruling by the same Trial Chamber had been made on a similar issue. The Chamber advised the parties to regard the earlier ruling in order to deal with the prosecution's request. Meantime, the prosecution will prepare for the defence witnesses scheduled to testify next week. The hearing will continue on Tuesday 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/FH (CY-0522e)