Arusha, October 31, 2003 (FH) – The trial of four senior officers of the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) who are accused of genocide and war crimes will resume Monday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Roland Amoussouga, the spokesperson of the ICTR, announced during a press conference on Thursday that the new session would last until December 17, 2003, when the tribunal goes on a judicial recess.

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The proceedings had been adjourned on November 3, 2003 after the prosecution had produced its 20th witness. The trial groups together the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who is also considered by the prosecution as the “mastermind” of the 1994 genocide, the former head of military operations of the army, General Gratien Kabiligi, the former army commander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of Kanombe Para-commando battalion in Kigali. The so-called “Military I” trial which opened on February 2, 2002, is considered as one of the most important ever brought before the ICTR. The four officers are accused of having planned and implemented the genocide in Rwanda that claimed the lives of about one million people between April and July, 1994. All four have pleaded not guilty to all charges levelled against them. Bagosora, 61, was arrested in Cameroon on March 3, 1996 and transferred to Arusha on January 23, 1997. He is represented by Raphael Constant from Martinique and Paul Skolnik from Canada. Nsengiyumva, 52 was also arrested in Cameroon on March 23, 1996 and transferred to Arusha on January 23, 1997. His defence is composed of Kennedy Ogetto and Ottachi Bw'Omanwa from Kenya. Major Ntabakuze, 48, was arrested in Kenya July 18, 1997 and his defence counsel is Professor Peter Erlinder from the USA assisted by André Tremblay from Canada. 51 year-old Kabiligi was also arrested in Kenya in July 1997. He is represented by the Franco-Togolese lawyer, Jean Yaovi Degli who is assisted by David Sperry from Britain. The prosecution team is led by Barbara Mulvaney from the USA. She announced that she intended to close her case in July 2004, though the number of witnesses she remains to call is unknown. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of judges Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia and Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. From November 3, “Military I” will alternate in the same chamber with that of former minister of finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi. His defence team began calling their witnesses last Monday. Judge Møse is also the presiding judge in Ndindabahizi's case. He is assisted by judge Solomy Balungi Bossa from Uganda and judge Khalida Rachid Khan from Pakistan. The Trial dubbed “Government II” which groups together former members of both Habyarimana and the interim government will also begin on Monday. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'1031e)