Arusha, April 13th, (FH) – The trial of former counsellor of Gishyita sector(Gishita commune) in Kibuye province (western Rwanda) and genocide suspectMikaeli Muhimana, was adjourned on Tuesday at the International CriminalTribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) because the accused was reported sick. The prosecution sought to have the court continue with the case arguing thatthe accused was represented in court by two lawyers.

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Mika's lead counsel Professor James Mwene Songa of the Democratic Republicof Congo (DRC) argued in return that the court should not to sit without thepresence of his client because of his prime importance duringcross-examination. After a short deliberation, the presiding judge in the trial, Judge KhalidaRashid Khan of Pakistan announced that in the absence of a medical report,the chamber was not in a position to rule on the state of health of theaccused. She adjourned the hearing and ordered the registry to have theaccused checked by a doctor and inform the court of the findings. Though he is charged with four counts; genocide, or in the alternative,complicity in genocide, and two counts of crimes against humanity (rape andmurder), the majority of the 22 witnesses to be called by the prosecutionwill testify on rapes allegedly committed by the accused during the 1994genocide in Rwanda. The indictment states that Mika Muhimana personally raped many Tutsi womenin Gishyita and the surrounding areas and that on many occasions, he killedor ordered to kill, Tutsi women and girls after having raped and publiclyhumiliating them. Mika denies all charges. He was arrested in Tanzania on November 8, 1999 and transferred the same dayto the United Nations Detention Facilities (UNDF) in ArushaJudge Khan is assisted in Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR by Judge LeeGaciuga Muthoga of Kenya and Judge Emile Francis Short from Ghana. The trial will resume on WednesdayKN/CE/FH (MH''0513e)