Arusha, December 15, 2003 (FH)- The trial of four former Rwandan cabinet ministers being heard at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was on Monday adjourned to early 2004. The trial officially known as "Government II" groups together Casimir Bizimungu, former minister for Health, the former minister of Foreign Affairs Jérôme Bicamumpaka, that of Commerce, Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of Public Service.

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They are each charged with six counts including genocide and crimes against humanity. The exact date when the trial will resume will be decided on Tuesday during a status conference. The trial started on November 3, 2003 and so far six prosecution witnesses have testified. According Paul Ng'arua, one of the prosecuting counsels in the case, the prosecution intends to call about sixty-one witnesses. Fifty-six of them are factual witnesses while five are experts. Earlier a prosecution witness identified as GKB to protect his identity, was cross-examined by Bizimungus defense regarding his testimony and statements. GKB who has pleaded guilty before the Gacaca courts (a Rwandan semi-traditional judicial system) for his involvement in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, testified mainly against Bizimungu. Bizimungu, 52, and Mugiraneza, 46, were members of the former ruling party, the National Republican Movement for Democracyand Development (MRND). Bicamumpaka, 46, was a member of the Democratic- Republican Movement (MDR), while Mugenzi 54, was the president of Liberal Party (PL). Bizimungu was arrested in Kenya while the other three were arrested in Cameroon in 1999. The trial is before Trial Chamber Two of the iCTR where Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana (Sri Lanka) is presiding. He is assisted by judges Lee Gacuiga Muthoga (Kenya) and Khalida Rashid Khan (Pakistan)Another trial dubbed "Government I" which involves four other former Rwandan government officials was adjourned last week to January 19, 2004. SV/KN/AT/FH (GOVII'1215e)