Arusha, March 14, 2002 (FH) - The trial of two political leaders and a military officer accused of genocide crimes in Cyangugu (southwest Rwanda) resumed on Tuesday but was adjourned to Thursday by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) after the testimony of one defence witness. The adjournment is to allow for the arrival in Arusha of scheduled defence witnesses.

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The Cyangugu trial groups former Transport Minister Ntagerura, former Cyangugu prefect EmmanuelBagambiki and former commander of the Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu, Samuel Imanishimwe. Prosecution maintains that all three are guilty of massacres of Tutsis in Cyangugu during the 1994 genocide. They have pleaded not guilty. The hearing was adjourned on March 28th, after the hearing of the eighteenth defence witness for Ntagerura. The Trial Chamber hearing this case is also hearing alternately, the trial of former Bicumbi (in Kigali rural province, central Rwanda) mayor Laurent Semanza. The nineteenth defence witness for Ntagerura, Canadian Jean Ducharme, from the University of Montreal testified when the Cyangugu trial resumed. Ducharme was initially scheduled to testify under a pseudo-name as a protected witness "K7". However, he requested that the protection measures be waived. The witness was questioned in his chief examination by Ntagerura's lead counsel Canadian Benoit Henry. Henry presented Ducharme as a "character witness. " He argued that although the witness was not in Rwanda during the 1994 events he had served as a Dean in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Economics and Management Sciences at the Rwandan National University between 1977 - 79 - Ntagerura served as the deputy Dean in this institution during the same period. In his testimony, Ducharme said that he knew Ntagerura from his service at the University as "one of integrity, coherence, uniformity and rigour in application of rules. "He also told the court that Ntagerura was available to assist students and was open and accessible. Ducharme said that with Ntagerura's cooperation, "we were able to reform in two years, the Faculty. "Prosecutor, Ugandan Richard Karegyesa questioned the relevance of Ducharme's testimony saying the defence had called many "character witnesses," but Henry underlined that this witness would give evidence on the accused's reputation which would assist the Chamber in deliberations before it delivers its judgement. Karegyesa cross-questioned Ducharme briefly at the end of his testimony. The hearing was adjourned because scheduled witnesses have not arrived in Arusha owing to changes in the trial schedule order. Ntagerura's defence stated it was withdrawing two witnesses and that two would be available on Thursday. The prosecution told the court that it had not received from any of the defence teams, reports from their expert witnesses. Karegyesa urged them to address the situation to avoid delays in translation of the documents. The trial is to resume on Thursday afternoon, 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 (TR-0325e)