Arusha, October 24, 2003 (FH) – The trial of former Rwandan Minister of finance Emmanuel Ndindabahizi will resume on Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with the defence beginning their case. Ndindabahizi 53, is charged with three counts including genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder).

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He allegedly perpetrated massacres of civilians in his home prefecture of Kibuye, western Rwanda. The trial was adjourned on September 30th, after the prosecution completed presenting evidence. A total of fifteen prosecution witnesses were heard within a period of twelve trial days. The trial began on September 1st. Ndindabahizi's lead defence counsel, Pascal Besnier told Hirondelle News Agency that the defence will call a total of twenty witnesses. Eighteen of them are factual witnesses, one of them an expert. The accused, a common practise at the Tribunal, will testify last. The defence is expected to complete their case by end of November. The prosecution team is composed of Charles Edeogun-Phillips (Nigeria) and Wallace Kapaya (Tanzania) while Ndindabahizi is represented by Pascal Besnier and Guillaume Marçais from France. Emmanuel Ndindabahizi was arrested in Belgium on July, 12th, 2001 and transferred, two months later, to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha. Ndindabahizi trial is before Trial Chamber One composed of Judge Erik Mose (Norway) presiding, Judge Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan) and Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda). The trials of eight other high-ranking Rwandan officials, Government I and II, will begin on November 3 at the ICTR. The officials are either former members of the interim government or of the former presidential party, the “Mouvement républicain national pour la démocratie et le développement” (MRND). The ICTR, whose mission is to judge the main perpetrators of the 1994 genocide, has, so far, pronounced thirteen judgements, including one acquittal. Rwanda's prime minister in the interim government, Jean Kambanda, and Eliézer Niyitegeka, former minister of Information, were both sentenced to life in prison. PJ/CE/FH (NB'1024e)