Arusha, September 2, 2003 (FH) – The trial of four former senior Rwandan army officers (ex-FAR) finally resumed Tuesday after a one day delay at International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Most of the session was held in camera.

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The prosecution called as its 12th witness a lady code-named “AS” to keep her identity secret. During the very short time that the witness appeared in open session, AS was able to recognise only one of the accused, Lieutenant-Colonel Anatole Nsegiyumva, former commander of Gisenyi military region. AS narrated that on the night of April 8, 1994, (two days after the beginning of the genocide and massacres of Tutsis and opposition figures which claimed at least one million victims within three months) she had tried to take refuge in the former Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) but had been turned back by Interahamwe militia manning road blocks. Witness AS said that she was later able to cross the border, accompanied by some Tutsis, after the intervention of Nsengiyumva. The prosecution considers the Interahamwe, the armed youth wing of the former president's party, the MRND, as having spearheaded the genocide. It also maintains that Anatole Nsengiyumva wielded influence and authority over the militia. On Monday, the prosecution explained, as it requested for an adjournment, that it had met with some unforeseen problems in getting hold of prosecution witnesses. “The witness scheduled to appear today (Monday) is not available because he is a subject of judicial inquiries in Rwanda”, announced the prosecutor's representative, Barbara Mulvaney from the USA. She continued that it had been impossible to call the next witness because he was ill. She crowned her argument by adding that 12 witnesses who were expected to arrive over the weekend had not made it as some were still subject to judicial proceedings in Rwanda. The trial was then adjourned to Tuesday. Before the trial was called off for the day, the defence teams argued some pending motions. They then requested that the prosecutor make available “an approximate order of appearance of witnesses from September 1 to October 3”. All defence counsels went on to complain that the prosecution had a habit of changing the order of appearance of witnesses, thus disrupting their planning. They insisted that the judicial files of all witnesses pursued by the Rwandan judiciary be made available to the defence so as to be a subject of interrogation when they testified. Nsengiyumva is jointly accused with the former chief of military operations of the Rwandan army, Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, and the former commander of the Para-commando battalion of Kanombe (Kigali), Major alloys Ntabakuze. The four officers have pleaded not guilty to a series of crimes, including war crimes and conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. All four have pleaded not guilty. The trial which began in April 2003, is considered by analysts as one of the most important brought before the ICTR. The prosecution intends to wind up its case by the end of the year. The so-called “Military I” trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich of Russia and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'0902)