Arusha, March 12, 2004 (FH) –The trial of four former Rwandan ministers at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was on Friday interrupted for the second time in a week due to lack of prosecution witnesses. The accused in the trial known as Government II are Casimir Bizimungu, former Minister for health, former minister of Foreign Affairs Jérôme Bicamumpaka, that of Commerce, Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of Public Service.

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The trial chamber was compelled to adjourn the proceedings in the morning after hearing the testimony of the twenty-third prosecution witness because there were no more witnesses. On Wednesday this week, the trial was adjourned to Thursday for the same reason. The prosecutor, Ibukunolu Babajide told the trial chamber on Friday that the next witness already in Arusha was unwell and could not testify. He thenproduced a medical certificate in court but the trial chamber said the document was not satisfactory. The document just stated that the witness could take a rest without explanation. The presiding Judge, Khalida Rachid Khan, ordered the prosecutor to produce in court a medical certificate stating why the witness was unable to testify. She directed the prosecution to ensure that it always has witnesses on stand by in Arusha. The judge then adjourned the case to Monday despite strong objections from one of the defence counsels. Ben Gumpert, Mugenzi's co-counsel had asked the chamber to summon the UN doctor who signed the certificate so that she could explain why the witness was not able to come to court, but the chamber rejected the request. Gumpert also asked the court to attend to other issues which do not require the presence of witnesses instead of adjourning early, which the court also declined. Government II Trial is before Trial Chamber Two where Judge Asoka de Zoyza Gunawardana (Sri Lanka) is presiding assisted by judges Lee Muthoga (Kenya) and Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan)PJ/CE/FH (GVII''0312e)