Arusha, November 28, 2003 (FH) – The absence on Friday of a defencecounsel has again delayed the trial of four former cabinet ministers in the1994 interim Rwandan Government at the International Criminal Tribunal forRwanda (ICTR). The trial was adjourned to Monday due to absence of Casimir Bizimungu's leadcounsel Michelyne Chénard Saint-Laurent (Canada).

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The defence attorney has been away since Tuesday November 25th, attending toher legal assistant who was involved in a car accident. On Friday, the other defence attorneys agreed that the case be adjourned toMonday. Saint-Laurent sought leave of the court on Tuesday so that she would be withher assistant, who was hospitalized in Nairobi. The counsel informed thechamber that she wanted to find out her assistant's state of health and ifneed be, have her evacuated to Canada. The chamber adjourned the case to Friday when she was expected to be back. She has been conducting Bizimungu's defence on her own since no co-counselhas been appointed. Bizimungu, (former minister for health) is jointly charged the formerminister of Foreign Affairs Jérôme Bicamumpaka, that of Commerce, JustinMugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of Public Service. They areeach charged with six counts including genocide and crimes against humanity. Two prosecution witnesses have been heard since the trial began on November6, 2003. The third prosecution witness is expected to be heard on Monday. The trial is before Trial Chamber Two where Judge Asoka de Zoyza Gunawardana(Sri Lanka) is presiding assisted by judges Lee Muthoga (Kenya) and KhalidaRashid Khan (Pakistan)PJ/CE/FH (GVII'1128e)