Arusha, November 25, 2003 (FH) – The trial of four former members of theRwandan interim government was adjourned on Tuesday at the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), because of the absence of a defenceattorney. The trial will resume on Friday.

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Michelyne Chénard Saint-Laurent, the Canadian counsel for former Minister ofhealth, Dr. Casimir Bizimungu, announced that she had to be on the bedsideof her assistant who is hospitalized in Nairobi. Her assistant, who also comes from Canada, was involved in a car accidentand is in critical condition. “I would like to inquire of her state of health and find out whether itmight not be necessary to evacuate her to Canada”, explained Saint-Laurent. Even though an accused is entitled to two defence counsels, Saint-Laurent iscurrently conducting Bizimungu's defence on her own and has no one toreplace her in her absence. The new developments have forced the tribunal to order the registry to solvethe problem as soon as possible. “Everything possible will be done to appoint a co-counsel within 24 and 48hours”, declared Didier Preira, head of the Defence Counsel ManagementSection (DCMS) of the ICTR. Casimir Bizimungu is jointly charged with the former minister of Commerce,Justin Mugenzi, Prosper Mugiraneza, who was that minister of PublicService, and Jerome Bicamumpaka, former ministerWhen the trial resumes on Friday, the tribunal will hear the thirdprosecution witness. Ever since the trial began November 6, 2003, the chamber has heard twowitnesses: the chief investigator in the prosecutor's office: Maxwell Nkoleand Eric Serge Rousseau, a Belgian whose Jewish mother's family wasdecimated during the Jewish holocaust. The two witnesses carried out investigations into the killings and Rwandaand their findings implicate the accused. The trial is taking place in trial Chamber Two of the ICTR composed ofJudges Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka (presiding), Khalida RashidKhan from Pakistan and Lee Gacuiga Muthoga from KenyaKN/ER/CE/FH (GVII'1125e)