Arusha, November 7, 2003 (FH) – Two defence witnesses testified almost entirely in closed session on Wednesday and Thursday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the trial of former Minister of Finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi. Ndindabahizi 53, is charged with three counts including genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder).

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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. The lead counsel for the accused Mr. Pascal Besnier from France requested the court to allow the fifteenth defence witness, code-named DQ, to testify in closed session. Besnier argued that the witness held a high placed official position in Rwanda and “the chances that he could be identified are high”. The prosecutor did not object and the chamber allowed for the whole testimony to be taken in closed session. The thirteenth defence witness, who started testifying on Wednesday, also mainly did so in closed session. He completed his testimony early on Thursday afternoon. He defended the accused several times saying he did not see Ndindabahizi participate in the genocide. On Friday, Ndindabahizi's defence will call its sixteenth witness, the last of the week. Only three factual witnesses and one expert witness will then remain to testify. The accised will testify last. The expert witness will be French historian Bernard Lugan, who teaches at the University of Lyon III, in France. Bernard Lugan also taught history at the national university of Rwanda, from 1971 to 1983. He has published several books and articles on African history, including “The history of Rwanda, from the stone age to the present day”, in 1997. The trial 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)