Arusha, November 25, 2003 (FH) – The trial of four former high-rankingRwandan officials which was supposed to begin on Wednesday, has been pushedto Thursday because of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. The trial known as “Government I” was initially supposed to begin onNovember 3.

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It was postponed to allow the defence to conduct some necessaryinvestigations before the case starts. Three of the four accused were high ranking members of the former rulingparty, the MRND. Mathieu Ngirumpatse was president of the MRND during the genocide, EdouardKaremera was the vice president and Joseph Nzirorera was its secretarygeneral. The fourth accused, Andre Rwamakuba, was the minister of interiorin the interim government and a member of the MDR party. Both Ngirumpatse and Nzirorera were members of the government before thegenocide. The latter was even named president of the transitional nationalassembly in June 1994. They are charged with seven counts of genocide, conspiracy to commitgenocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and crimesagainst humanity (rape and extermination). The prosecution alleges that between 1990 and 1994, they conspired and drewup a plan to exterminate Tutsis and Hutu members of the opposition. They pleaded not guilty during their initial appearance of April 7,1999. Their trial will be conducted in trial Chamber Three of the ICTR that willbe composed of Andrésia Vaz from Senegal (presiding) who will be assisted bytwo ad litem (not permanent) judges: Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and FlorenceRita Arrey from Cameroon. This is the second trial that involves former members of the Rwandangovernment. It follows that known as “Government II” which begun on November 6. KN/ER/CE/FH (GVI'1125'e)