Arusha, January 30, 2004 (FH) -The Vice-President of Rwandan senate, Prosper Higiro, on Friday finished testifying before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the trial involving four former Rwandan cabinet ministers. The former ministers in the trial known as Government II are Casimir Bizimungu, former Minister of health, Justin Mugenzi, former Minister for commerce, Jérôme Bicamumpaka, former minister of Foreign Affairs and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of Public Service.

1 min 11Approximate reading time

They all face six counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. As he was completing his testimony, Higiro said during cross-examination by Bizimungu's lead counsel, Michelyne Chénard-St-Laurent (Canada), that he wasunaware that a meeting had been held by RPF leaders to plot the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana in 1993. St-Laurent had inquired from the witness if he knew that the meeting had been held by RPF leaders led by the current Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Burkina Faso on March 31st, 1994. Higiro who is also Chairman of the Liberal Party (PL) had been testifying since Monday 26th January. His chief evidence was mainly on Mugenzi who was the PL chairman between 1991 and 1992. The next witness could not take the witness stand because Bizimungu's defence has filed a motion to have the witness stopped from testifying at the moment. Bizimungu's co-counsel Alexandra Marcil told the trial chamber that they have not prepared their case on the next prosecution witness since, she said, the prosecutor has failed to call its witnesses in the order they are listed. She further claimed that the prosecutor has presented a new list of witnesses. The prosecution will respond to the motion on Tuesday. The trial was adjourned to Tuesday because Monday is a public holiday. 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 Rashid Khan (Pakistan)PJ/CE/FH (GVII'0130e)