Arusha, November 7, 2003 (FH) – The trial of genocide suspect and former Minister of Finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, was on Friday adjourned to the 17th of November at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The defence is expected to present its last three witnesses before the 21st of November.

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A witness identified as DD will begin his testimony on the 17th followed by an expert witness, French history professor Bernard Lugan the next day and lastly the accused. Ndindabahizi 53, is charged with three counts including genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder). He is accused of organizing, inciting and supervising massacres, including making public calls for the killing of Tutsis in general and certain individuals in particular. He pleaded not guilty to all counts on October 20, 2001. On Friday, the sixteenth defence witness testified mainly on the good morality of the accused. He said he had known the accused since 1973, a troubled period during which Tutsi students were hunted away from schools, and explained that Ndindabahizi, a Hutu, had not been involved in these acts. He also indicated that, given his good character, it would be surprising if Ndindabahizi had distributed weapons. He defined the former minister as “a hard worker. He [also] negotiated special advances with the national bank to help pay food suppliers after the Rwanda bank ran out of revenue. ”The witness also said that the accused could not travel. “He was so busy he could not get away from his office, he only went away once to attend a Preferential Trade Area meeting in Nairobi”. Part of the indictment states that during April, May and June 1994 Emmanuel Ndindabahizi led or directly participated in attacks upon civilians identified as Tutsis in attacks upon civilians identified as Tutsis in Kibuye prefecture by personally using weapons or by distributing weapons and directing that they be used, and by transporting attackers or weapons to theattack sites. The defence started its case on October 17th. The only problem that was encountered along the way was last Wednesday when Rwanda's prosecutor general, Gérald Gahima, declared that one of the defence protected witnesses had an arrest warrant issued against him by the Rwandan government. The Tribunal did not officially react. The witness testified on Thursday. Ndindabahizi is defended by two French lawyers, Pascal Besnier and Guillaume Marçais. His trial is one of the fastest in the history of the ICTR. It is before Trial Chamber one composed of Judge Erik Mose (Norway) presiding, judges Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan) and Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda). SV/CE/FH (NB1107e)