Arusha, November 13, 2003 (FH) – The trial of genocide suspect and former Mayor of Rusumo (Kibungo prefecture, Eastern Rwanda), Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, will resume on Monday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The trial was adjourned on October 21, 2003 after the 18th defence witness had testified.

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Gacumbitsi's defence is yet to call five more witnesses, among them three expert witnesses. As is common practice at the ICTR, the accused will testify last. The prosecution closed its case on August 27 after calling 15 witnesses, while the case started on July 28, 2003. Gacumbitsi, 56, was arrested in Tanzania on June 20, 2001 and he is facing five counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and rape which were committed in different parts of his commune in1994. According to the prosecutor, the accused had led an attack against people who had taken refuge at Nyarubuye Church, killing thousands of Tutsis in the process. Sylvestre Gacumbitsi has pleaded not guilty to all counts. His defence team is made up of Kouengoua, who is assisted by Anne Mbattang. Both are from Cameroon. The prosecution in this trial is led by Richard Karegyesa from Uganda. The trial is being heard by Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of Judge Andrésia Vas from Senegal (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Judge Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. KN/ER/CE/FH (GA'1114e)