Arusha, November 13, 2003 (FH) ­ The first witness in the trial of four former Rwandan ministers and genocide suspects has testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for one week. Maxwell Ephrem Nkole the chief investigator in the office of the prosecutor, started testifying soon after the trial opened on November 6th.

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He has produced a total of 196 exhibits on behalf of the prosecutor. The defence team has objected to admission of some of the evidence as they doubt their veracity. On Thursday, the defence began cross-examining Nkole . The witness was cross questioned briefly by Casmir Bizimungus lead counsel, Michelyne Chénard St-Laurent (Canada) before the day session ended. The trial formerly known as Government Two, groups former minister of Health, Casimir Bizimungu, former minister of Foreign Affairs JérômeBicamumpaka, that of Commerce, Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of Public Service. They are charged with six counts of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of Article 3 common to the Geneva Convention. The trial continues on Friday with cross-examination of Nkole. The trial is before Trial Chamber Two where Judge Asoka de Zoyza Gunawardana (Sri Lanka) is presiding, assisted by judges Lee Muthoga (Kenya) and Khalida Rashid Khan (Pakistan). PJ/CE/FH (GVII'1113e)