Arusha, December 17, 2003 (FH) – The trial of four senior officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR), going on at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), was on Wednesday adjourned until January 19, 2004. It adjourned after hearing the 36th prosecution witness code-named “AE” to keep his identity secret.

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Sixteen witnesses testified in this last session that started on November 3. Though the total number of witnesses the prosecutor intends to call is not known, he intends to finish presenting his case by June 2004. AE's testimony mainly implicated the former director of Cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who is considered by the prosecution as the “mastermind” of the 1994 genocide. The witness in particular alleged that Bagosora was responsible for the death of the former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who was killed on April 7, 1994. The defence challenged AE's testimony claiming that he could not distinguish between what he had seen from what he had been told. After AE's testimony, the chamber, together with both parties, went into closed session for a status conference to discuss next year's calendar and some pending matters. Colonel Theoneste Bagosora is jointly charged with the former head of military operations of the army, Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, the former armycommander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and the former commander of the Para-commando battalion in Kanombe (Kigali), Major Aloys Ntabakuze. They are accused among others, of conspiracy to commit genocide, war crimesand crimes against humanity. All have pleaded not guilty. This so-called “Military I” trial is considered to be one of the mostimportant trials ever handled by the tribunal. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of JudgeErik Møse from Norway, Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, andJudge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'1217e)