Arusha, September 5, 2003 (FH) – The prosecutor in the trial of four former senior army officers of the Rwandan army (ex-FAR), on Friday announced at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that she was rescheduling her timetable. The prosecutor said that she would finish presenting her evidence in June 2004, instead of the end of this year as she had announced in July, 2003.

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At that time she had declared that she would limit herself only to the “most important witness”. The sudden change in the calendar could be linked to recent problems by the prosecution to call witnesses. This week alone, the trial was adjourned twice for lack of prosecution witnesses. Last July, the prosecution had announced that it remained to call about thirty witnesses only, but on Friday, the figure jumped to over 40. Members of the defence complained that the prosecution had a habit of altering the order of appearance of witnesses, thereby disrupting their plans. Announcing the change in the calendar, Catherine Graham the Swedish co-prosecutor revealed that even the new arrangement was still hypothetical. “Everything depends on the rhythm“ of the plan to call the remaining witnesses goes. The number of potential witnesses the prosecutor intended to call has changed on numerous occasions since the trial began on April 2, 2002. Of the 800 or so she intended to call at the beginning, the number came down to 250 before settling to 121 on the insistence of Trial Chamber Three where the trial was first conducted. The so- called “Military I” trial is considered to be the most important that has been brought before the tribunal so far. It groups together the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora who is considered to be the mastermind of the genocide, General Gratien Kabiligi the former head of military operations of the army, Lieutenant. Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva who used to be the former army commander of Gisenyi region, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of the Para-commando battalion based in Kanombe, Kigali. They are charged among others of conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, They have pleaded not guilty to all charges. The trial is taking place before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway, Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Judge Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'0905ee)