Arusha, February 27, 2004 (FH) – The trial of four senior officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR) taking place at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR, was Thursday adjourned to March 29. The just-ended session began on January 19 and was marked by the appearance of two important witnesses; the former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Rwanda (UNAMIR), General Romeo Dallaire and well as his countryman and former aide, Major Brent Beardsely.

1 min 11Approximate reading time

The prosecution has already called 48 witnesses. Though the number of remaining witnesses is not yet known, they expect to wrap up the case in June. Not knowing the total number of witnesses to be called by the prosecution has always infuriated the defence. The defence have also on numerous occasions complained of the introduction by prosecution witnesses of what they refer to as “new evidence”, which they claim is prejudicial to the rights of the accused. The trial involves the former director of cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, who is regarded by the prosecution as the “mastermind of the genocide” that cost the lives of an estimated one million people. Bagosora is jointly accused with the former chief of military operations in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR), Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi, the former military commander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, former commander of the Kanombe Para-commando battalion based in Kigali. The accused are mainly charged with Conspiracy to commit Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. All have pleaded not guilty. This so-called “Military I” started April 2, 2002 and it is considered as one of the most important ever brought before the ICTR. It is trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. KN/GA/AT/CE/FH (ML''0227a)