Arusha, October 9, 2003 (FH) – The Gacumbitsi trial being heard at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was adjourned on Thursday due to the illness of the witness who was supposed to testify. The former mayor of Rusumo commune, Kibungo Prefecture, Rwanda Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, 56, is charged with five counts which include genocide or in the alternative complicity in genocide, extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity in relation with massacres of Tutsis perpetrated in several locations in his commune during the 1994 genocide.

0 min 50Approximate reading time

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The witness identified as ZHZ to protect the identity is the sixth defense witness. The co-counsel for Gacumbitsi, Ms Anne Mbattang from Cameroon told Hirondelle that “we are not even sure that he will be able to testify on Friday, we are waiting for the doctor's information. ”Gacumbitsi's defence is expected to present “between 20 and 23 witnesses” before it closes its case. Already six witnesses have testified and 8 new witnesses will be present in Arusha next week. Fifteen prosecution witnesses completed their testimony in a period of one month from when the trial started on July 28th,2003. The case is before Trial Chamber Three, which is presided over by Senegalese judge and ICTR vice-president Andresia Vaz, assisted by judges Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji and Serguei Aleckseivich Egorov from Russia. SV/CE/FH (GA0910e)