Arusha, June 16, 2003 (FH) - The date for closing arguments in the trial of three former senior government officials in the southwestern town of Cyangugu, has been on Tuesday postponed to August 12, 2003 at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The trial which began on September 18, 2000, groups together the former prefect of Cyangugu, Emmanuel Bagambiki, 54, the former military commander of Karambo barracks in Cyangugu, Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe, 42, and a former minister of transport and communication in the interim government, 53 yearold André Ntagerura.

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The trial known as the "Cyangugu trial" adjourned on April 3, 2003 after one of the accused, Bagambiki, finished testifying before the tribunal. It lasted a total of 160 trial days and auditioned 126 witnesses. Initially, the scheduling order of the chamber had set the deadline for submitting of written briefs for June 18, 2003 while the closing arguments were supposed to have been held between June 23 and 27, 2003. The prosecutor, Richard Karegyesa's motion to extend the date for filing closing briefs, was accepted by the chamber as it became apparent that both the prosecution and the defence came to the same conclusions that they would not meet the deadline. Karegyesa cited the huge volume of paperwork involved in compiling the testimony of the large number of witnesses summoned to testify. Karegyesa, from Uganda, is assisted on the prosecution team by Holo Makwaia of Tanzania and Andra Mobberley from New Zealand. Emmanuel Bagambiki is defended by Vincent Lurquin from Belgium, assisted by Seydou Doumbia, a Belgian of Malian descent. Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe's defence team is made up of MarieLouise Mbida and Jean Pierre Fofe, from Cameroon and DR Congo respectively. Canadian Benoît Henry and Hamuli Rety wa Mudeydey from France, are André Ntagerura's defence counsels. All the accused have pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in massacres of Tutsis in Cyangugu during the genocide in 1994. Bagambiki and Imanishimwe's defence teams called 25 witnesses each. Both are accused by the prosecution of having played a major role in the massacres of Tutsi refugees at Kamarampaka stadium and Nyamasheke parish among other sites. Ntagerura is accused of having allowed or authorised the use of government vehicles, specifically buses belonging to the state owned transport company, ONATRACOM, for the transportation of [Interahamwe] militia, as well as the transportation of arms and ammunitions to Cyangugu region during the genocide. The former minister called 32 witnesses to testify on his behalf. Chamber Three is composed of Judge George Lloyd Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis, and is assisted by Judge Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. This is the last trial at the ICTR for two of the judges, Dolenc and Ostrovsky. The former was not reelected to the ICTR while the latter is going into retirement. Both their mandates were extended beyond May 24, 2003 by the UN Security Council in order to finish this case. KN/CE/FH(CY'0616e)