Arusha, June 9, 2003 (FH) - Judges of Trial Chamber One of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), continue with their debate on the legal action to take in the trial of four former senior army officers of the former Rwandan army (exFAR). The case dubbed “Military I”, resumed in camera on Monday as all parties sat in a status conference to chart the way for the resumption of the trial which was adjourned on December 6, 2002.

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After both the defence and the prosecution teams had argued their case, the judges retired to deliberate on, and decide whether the trial continues where it left off or restarts from the beginning. Before the trial adjourned last December, the prosecution had auditioned two witnesses. Jean Degli, a FrancoTogolais and one of the defence lawyers, said that his team had no objection for the trial to continue in order “to save time”, but he added that it was up to the judges to decide on the course of action. According to Degli, the judges' decision will be known very soon, either tomorrow or Wednesday. Formerly being heard by Chamber Three, the case was reassigned to a newly reconstituted Chamber One which is now composed of Judges Erik Møse of Norway (presiding), the Russian judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. “Military I”, groups together the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former head of military operations in the Rwandan army Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, former commander of Gisenyi military region lieutenantcolonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze who used to be the commander of the paracommando battalion based at Kanombe (Kigali). All have pleaded not guilty to charges of among others, complicity to commit genocide and war crimes. This trial is considered as one of the most important brought before the ICTR, and observers estimate that it will take at least two years. According to the judicial calendar, the present session goes on until July 18, 2003KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'0609)