Arusha, April 15, 2002 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR's) trial Chamber Three on Monday called for the Rwandan Government's cooperation, following difficulties in getting witnesses to come to testify in the case of former Bicumbi mayor Laurent Semanza. "It is important that (Rwandan) authorities cooperate so that we carry out the mandate given to us by the (United Nations) Security Council," said judge Lloyd George Williams of St.

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Kitts and Nevis. He was speaking after an official from the ICTR Witness protection unit informed the court of difficulties in bringing witnesses expected to testify in the case, from Rwanda to Arusha. Two prosecution witnesses were expected to testify this week but their departure from Rwanda remains uncertain. The official, Vahidy Saleem of Pakistan said the witnesses were willing to come and testify but needed authority from certain associations of genocide survivors that had recently publicly announced that they (witnesses) should not cooperate with the Tribunal. "Lately we have been facing a slight problem with the government of Rwanda and associations like IBUKA and AVEGA," Saleem informed the court. The witnesses, he said, say they need authority from the Rwanda Ministry of Justice or from IBUKA. The witnesses in question are part of six people called by the prosecution for rebuttal evidence in the former mayor's case. Semanza is charged with 14 counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape and persecution in Bicumbi and Gikoro communes. He has pleaded not guilty. This is the third case at the ICTR to be affected in three weeks because witnesses cannot come to testify. In two other cases before the ICTR namely the so-called 'Butare Trial' and that of former Mayor of Mukingo, Juvenal Kajelijeli, witnesses also failed to come to give evidence at the behest of IBUKA and AVEGA. A total of twelve witnesses involving seven accused (six in the Butare trial and Kajelijeli) in the two cases had to be struck off of the witness lists when they failed to appear before the Tribunal. Last month, these two key associations for genocide survivors reiterated the decision of non-cooperation with the (ICTR). Witnesses have stated they are awaiting an announcement by these associations allowing them to testify in Arusha. Some of the issues IBUKA and AVEGA have cited include the hiring by the ICTR of "41" people allegedly suspected of genocide crimes and harassment of witnesses during cross-questioning, amongst other complaints. Semanza's defence counsel Charles Taku of Cameroon and USA, lamented that the associations are not recognized by the court or internationally but are known in Rwanda and that the Rwandan government as a state should cooperate with the Tribunal. Semanza's trial proceeded with the testimony of the first prosecution witness giving rebuttal evidence. The witness is known only as "DCH" for to protect identity. DCH who was formerly in detention in Rwanda, had arrived in Arusha ahead of the directions by the genocide survivors associations. Prosecution intends to call six witnesses including DCH and the two in Rwanda going by the names "XXL" and "XXK" for protection of identity. The others are a Kenyan forensic expert, a Cameroonian Prosecutor and an expert witness in the prosecution case Professor André Guichaoua. The prosecution first mentioned the intention to call rebuttal witnesses when the defence closed their case in February. The last defence witness was Semanza who testified in his own defence for more than a week. Prosecution maintains issues in rebuttal arise from matters raised by defence, but Semanza's defence had objected saying prosecution was attempting to bring in new elements to the case. Semanza was mayor of Bicumbi Kigali rural province in central Rwanda for over 20 years before the lost his post in 1993. He was arrested in March 1996 and made his initial appearance at the Tribunal in 1998. This case is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. Judge Ostrovsky reminded the prosecution that the witnesses had to be in court by (April) 30th, (2002) in accordance with the rules told the court. Witness DCH continues with his testimony on Tuesday morning. SW/FH (SE-0415e)