Arusha, September 15, 2003 (FH) –The ongoing trial of four senior army officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) was on Monday adjourned at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) because one of the defence counsels had fallen ill. The presiding judge of Trial Chamber One, Erik Møse of Norway announced that the trial would not go ahead because of the absence of André Tremblay, defence counsel of one of the accused, Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of Kanombe para-commando battalion in Kigali, Major.

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Tremblay, who comes from Canada, has been conducting the defence on his own for some time now following the absence of Ntabakuze's lead counsel, Professor Peter Erlinder, who left Arusha last Tuesday. Prof. Erlinder had tried unsuccessfully to have the testimonies of all defence witness mentioning his client moved to November when he would be available. So far nothing has come of his threats to resign if his demands were not met. Right after the departure of Erlinder, Tremblay had stated that he had “been put in a very delicate situation” and that the tribunal “should be ready for anything”. He had even wondered what would happen to the case in the event he fell sick. 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, GeneralGratien 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. Judge Erik Møse is assisted in Chamber One by Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov of Russia and Judge Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. The trial is slated to resume on Tuesday with protected witness “DBY” continuing his testimony. KN/CE/FH (ML'0915e)