Arusha, May 16, 2002 (FH) -The defence in the trial of former Rwandan Minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda is scheduled to start its case when the hearing resumes in August and the prosecution has closed its case at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The hearing has been adjourned until August 19th, after the testimony of twenty-eight prosecution witnesses.

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The former minister's defence team anticipates about 30 witnesses. Kamuhanda is charged with nine counts including genocide, complicity in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape and murder. These crimes were allegedly committed in his native Gikomero commune (Kigali province, central Rwanda). He has denied all charges. He was minister of higher education from May 25th, 1994. However, the prosecution is expected to recall one witness to reappear before the court after defence argued it had learnt from outside sources that the witness was not present in the areas where according to her testimony, genocide crimes were allegedly committed. Prosecutor Marks Moore of Ireland stated that the witness in question, known only as "GEK" for protection of identity and who testified entirely in camera at the start of the trial is actually detained in Rwanda, for reasons other that what concerns the Tribunal. Moore said that efforts had been made in vain, to obtain from the Rwandan government leave for the witness to come before the Tribunal. The Chamber instructed the prosecution to pursue the issue during the pause in the hearing of the trial. When the case resumes it is expected that the defence will present of defence witnesses. The final witness to testify for the prosecution is a former Hutu gendarme who told the court that he travelled with the accused around April 21st, 1994. The witness dubbed "DAL" to protect his identity said that during his traverses between Kigali and Gitarama (central Rwanda) Kamuhanda was happy about killings carried out at roadblocks and encouraged those in charge. During cross-questioning Kamuhanda's lead counsel Aicha Conde of Guinea argued that there were contradictions and inconsistencies in the witness's testimony. The defence counsel underlined that in a statement to a commission in Belgium on June 12th, 1995, the witness said he stayed at his duty post of Gisenyi from April 5th to April 25th, 1994. In a separate statement to ICTR investigators on May 7th and May 12th, 1999, the witness said that during the start of the killings on April 7th, 1994 he was in his native commune of Giti (Byumba province, east of Rwanda). He reportedly left this commune around April 20th, on foot, to take a vehicle in a place called Ngororero Gisenyi province. In another statement however, DAL and in his testimony in court, he said he made the Kigali-Gitarama trip in the ministerial vehicle of the accused. Conde put it to the witness that he did not see Kamuhanda around April 21st, 1994, because he was not a minister at the time (Kamuhanda was named a minister in May 25th, 1994) and that the accused was in Gitarama at his mother-in-law's place with his family. The lawyer also questioned why the witness had not mentioned these details on the accused in his earlier statements. Witness DAL said he had responded to specific questions put to him. Conde has been representing Kamuhanda together with a British Counsel Grace Amakye but the latter is to be replaced at the request of the accused. Kamuhanda instructed his lead counsel to request for Amakye's withdrawal who is on leave because his case is at a "crucial stage. "Kamuhanda's trial is before ICTR's Trial Chamber Two composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Mantanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. SW/FH (KH-0516e)