Arusha, May 9, 2002 (FH) - The trial of former Rwandan minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda was on Thursday briefly adjourned after the prosecution informed the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that a witness who was testifying could not continue as her family in Rwanda had received threats. Prosecutor Marks Moore of Ireland told the ICTR's Trial Chamber Two that it was a questionable "coincidence" that the witness's family members in Rwanda had received threats just as she was testifying against the former minister.

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The prosecutor said the witness had informed him of the threats and asked the court for an adjournment to get further details on the issue. He added that the witness had vital information to the case and he would not let her testify while feeling "intimidated". The witness known only as "GKI" for protection of identity is the 27th prosecution witness. Moore told the court GKI had travelled to Arusha through means other than what is provided by the United Nations to avoid possibilities of being recognized. 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. Kamuhanda's lead counsel Aicha Conde of Guinea in response to the prosecution told the court that neither the defence team nor members of Kamuhanda's family were in any way involved in the issue of the threats to the witness. Conde emphasised that the defence adhered to their code of ethics. Moore stated that he was not indicating that the defence was involved. The trial resumed in camera later in the day after the witness had consulted with the prosecution. She wanted to be assured of her security and that of her family members in Rwanda. Witness GKI started her testimony on Wednesday afternoon. Most of her testimony has been in closed session and the witness is nursing a baby. 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-0509e)