Arusha, January 30, 2004 (FH) – The four defence counsels who boycotted Thursday's session in the so called “Butare trial” that groups six genocide suspects, were present in court on Friday along with their clients as ordered by Trial Chamber Two the previous day. The trial resumed with the cross-examination of the twenty fourth prosecution witness dubbed SX to conceal his identity.

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The witness had not been able to proceed with his testimony after his examination in chief on Tuesday, following a two-day strike by the defence counsels. Trial Chamber Two of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was expected to continue with the hearing on Thursday after adjournment on Wednesday, but when it resumed, only two accused out of six were there with their counsels. The accused in this case include two former Butare prefects, Alphonse Nteziryayo and Sylvain Nsabimana, two former Mayors, Joseph Kanyabashi of Ngoma commune and that of Muganza commune Elie Ndayambaje and the former minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko together with her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali. The testimony of SX largely touched upon one of the accused, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali on the killings at a roadblock near his mother's house, and rape allegations. During cross-examination, Ntahobali's co-counsel, Normand Marquis from Canada cited some contradictions between the witness's oral and written testimonies as presented. He pointed out that while the witness told the chamber that the accused had a pistol among the weapons he possessed during the killings and that thepresidential guards were also present at the roadblock, there was nothing on these two issues in his 1997 written statement. Responding to the criticism the witness said “ I could not tell everything at once. ”Most of the cross examination was conducted in camera. SX concluded his testimony on Friday. The trial is expected to continue next Tuesday, Monday being a public holiday in Tanzania. This trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Two, presided over by Judge William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania and assisted by Judges Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar and Salome Bossa of Uganda. NI/KN/CE/FH (BT''0130e)