Arusha, September 22, 2003 (FH) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), on Monday recalled a prosecution witness in the trial of four senior army officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR). Witness DBY last testified on September 15, 2003, but his testimony was cut short because one of defence lawyers had fallen ill thereby throwing the court into confusion.

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The Canadian André Tremblay, one of the co-counsels of Major Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of Kanombe Para-commando battalion in Kigali, had fallen ill at a time when his lead counsel, Professor Peter Erlinder of the USA, was also absent. The court decided to put the witness on hold and wait for Tremblay's recovery after Ntabakuze had complained. ““It would be a dangerous precedent to continue without my lawyer's presence”, the accused had argued. DBY is a former soldier in the ex-FAR and had served under Major Ntabakuze. Ntabakuze is being jointly tried in the so-called “Military I” with the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former head of military operations of the army, General Gratien Kabiligi, and the former army commander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva. All four have pleaded not guilty to charges of, among others, genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Off the markThe defence had earlier objected to the trend of DBY's testimony charging that it was “off the mark and not relevant to the indictment”. DBY was mostly testifying on events that happened before 1994. Counsels for the defence added that there were “no events (in 1990) that would show a deliberate conduct that could lead to the 1994 genocide”. The prosecutor maintained that in the context of the Rwandan genocide, it was imperative that a background be drawn as “there were causalities between 1990 and 1994”. Ruling on the defence's objection, the presiding judge of Trial Chamber One of ICTR, Erik Møse from Norway, pointed out that the chamber would “on its own discretion judge what elements in the testimony were relevant”. The enemy withinDBY told on Monday the court that he had intercepted two telegrams, purportedly from Col. Bagosora, in 1991 and in 1993. In the first one, Bagosora is reportedly instructing all commanders to take precautions as the enemy was “within the army”, and that the enemy was Tutsi. The witness went on to say that shortly afterwards between 80 and 100 Tutsis and Hutus from the south were dismissed from the army. “No Tutsi was recruited in the army after 1991”, declared DBYIn the second telegram from Bagosora, in 1993, the colonel was allegedly requesting the central armoury to avail him one thousand guns. DBY continued that those guns were later distributed to Interahamwe militiaThe defence again came back to the issue of admissibility of evidence referring to the period prior to 1994, causing the prosecution to cut short its examination in chief. The defence began cross examining the witness late in the morning but most of the proceedings took place in camera. The hearing of the case continues Tuesday in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR which is composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'0922e)