Arusha, November 25, 2003 (FH) – The defence of former Mayor of Rusumo(Kibungo prefecture), Sylvestre Gacumbitsi completed its presentation ofwitnesses on Tuesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR). Gacumbitsi, 56, is facing five counts of genocide, crimes against humanityand rape, which were committed in different parts of his commune in1994.

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The former mayor was cross-examined by the prosecutor Mr. Richard Karegyesaof Uganda, and later re-examined by the defence counsel Kouengoua who closedthe defense case. During cross-examination, the prosecutor mainly focused on the whereaboutsof the accused at the dates when killings took place in Nyarubuye. In most of his answers regarding his whereabouts, Gacumbitsi repeated he wasnot there. The trial has been adjourned to between March 1 and 3, when both partieswill present their closing arguments. The presiding judge, Andrésia Vaz, nevertheless indicated that, ifnecessary, these dates could be changed. The trial began on July 28. Fifteen prosecution witnesses were heard untilAugust 27. The defence called its first witness on October 6, and haspresented twenty one since then. The trial was before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of Judges Vazfrom Senegal, Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Judge Jai RamReddy from Fiji. SV/CE/FH (Ga1125e)