Arusha, March 29, 2004 (FH) – The four genocide suspects in the so-called Government I trial which resumed on Monday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) boycotted the proceedings for the second time. The accused had on February 24th boycotted their second initial appearance where they were required to plead to a new indictment.

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Their defence attorneys informed the court that the suspects had refused to turn up in court until the chamber should respond to a letter they wrote on January 19th to the trial chamberThe accused in the case are the former president of MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, his vice president Edouard Karemera, the Secretary general of MRND, Joseph Nzirorera as well as Andre Rwamakuba, former minister of primary and secondary education. On Monday the trial attorneys told the court that the suspects had once again decided not to attend proceedings until their letter is answered. The chamber delivered a decision on the issue saying that it cannot respond to the letter which is almost contemptuous. “The chamber shall only be satisfied once the accused return to court. It is in their interest to be present,” Judge Andresia Vaz (Senegal) presiding ruled. As soon as Judge Vaz had read the decision, Nzirorera's defence counsel Peter Robinson of USA and Karemera's defence counsel, Dior Diagne (Senegal) presented oral motions. Karemera's counsel told the chamber she had instructions to ask the judges in the case to disqualify themselves. “He (Karemera) believes the procedure is rampant with defects and he is not satisfied with the impartiality of this trial chamber, “ counsel Diagne stated. Robinson sought to have the evidence of one witness excluded because the prosecution had not made disclosures to him regarding the witness. The prosecutor, Don Webster of Jamaica, termed both motions as outrageous, distasteful and with no substance. The chamber adjourned the proceedings indefinitely until a decision on the motions is made. Judge Vaz said the court shall inform the parties when the decision will be rendered. Government Two trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of Judge Andresia Vaz from Senegal, (presiding) and ad litem judges Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and Florence Rita Arrey from Cameroon. PJ/CE/FH (GVI''0329e)