Arusha, January 28, 2003 (FH)-The joint trial of four former members of the Rwandan government facing genocide and other related charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), was on Wednesday put back to March 15, 2004. The trial had been scheduled to resume on January 28, but some outstanding issues have not yet been resolved.

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The major cause for adjournment was the request by the prosecution to amend the indictment to include new elements. The issue is still under deliberation. Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR hearing the case had on January 19 requested the prosecutor to file a draft amendment of the indictment by January 23. Another issue that has caused the delay is the appointment of a new defence team for one of the accused, Edouard Karemera, former minister of interior and vice-president of the ruling party, the MRND. Karemera's previous lead counsel, Didier Skornicki, stepped down because of illness late last year. He was replaced in the middle of this month by Dior Diagne from Senegal. Diagne had previously worked on the defence of Joseph Nzirorera, Secretary General of the MRND and minister of interior, one of the co-accused in the so-called Government Itrial. The other accused in this joint trial are the former president of MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and Andre Rwamakuba, former minister of primary and secondary education. Rwamakuba has boycotted the trial ever since it began, saying that his case file had been manipulated by the prosecutor. So far the prosecution has already called eight witnesses, most of whom incriminated Joseph Nzirorera and Andre Rwamakuba. Nzirorera is accused of organizing massacres in his hometown of Ruhengeri (northern Rwanda) while Rwamakuba is accused of massacres carried out in the town of Butare (southern Rwanda). Chamber Three of the ICTR is composed ofJudge Andresia Vaz from Senegal, (presiding) and ad litem judges Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and Florence Rita Arrey from Cameroon. KN/CE/FH (GVI'0128E)