Arusha, 31 July 2007 (FH) The trial will resume in mid-August at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) after ten days of judicial recess.

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The proceedings should theoretically be adjourned on 3 August and resume 13 August.

This scheduling was, however, disturbed following the premature adjournment of the only trial of the week, that of three former leaders of the former ruling party, the Mouvement Républicain National pour loa Démocratie et le Développement (MRND).

Starting on 12 June, the current session was to finish on 3 August but it was adjourned on 30 July because of the lack of witnesses for the prosecution.

The defence had just obtained the exclusion of a witness whom the Prosecutor intended to testify on the facts that were the subject of a judicial notice.

The chamber also agreed to the defence's request to postpone the testimony of a witness on whom the Prosecutor had been reluctant.

The parties will come together Wednesday afternoon to determine the calendar of the next session.

The defendants are Mathieu Ngirumpatse, Edouard Karemera and Joseph Nzirorera, respectively president, vice-president and secretary-general of the MRND, the party of former President Juvénal Habyarimana. This trial began on 19 September 2005.

At the resumption of the proceedings, 13 August, the Tribunal will continue the trial of four former ministers in the interim government in power between April and July 1994.

The proceedings in this trial which started in November 2003 were adjourned on 12 June as the second defendant was still presenting his defence.

The former Minister of Health, Dr. Casimir Bizimungu, who testified for his own cause, had just started to submit himself to the cross-examination of the Prosecutor.

Bizimungu is a co-defendant with the former Minister of Trade, Justin Mugenzi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jerome Clément Bicamumpaka, and the Minister of Civil Service, Prosper Mugiraneza. Only Mugenzi has finished his defence.

On 20 August, the proceedings will resume in the trial of six accused of genocide in Butare (southern Rwanda), in progress since June 2001.

They had been suspended 10 July, after the opening statement of the fifth defendant, the former mayor of Ngoma, Joseph Kanyabashi.

At the resumption, Kanyabashi will call his first witness for the defence. The chamber ordered him not to exceed 30 witnesses but he appealed. Joseph Kanyabashi wishes to call at least 45 witnesses for his defence.

Kanyabashi is being tried with the former Minister for the Family and Women Welfare, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, the only woman being detained by the ICTR, Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, the son of the minister, a former student accused of having directed a militia during the genocide, two former prefects of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Ntzeziryayo, as well as the former mayor of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje.

Ndayambaje will be the last to call his witnesses.

On 22 August, the judicial calendar anticipates the continuation of the trial of Tharcisse Renzaho, prefect of Kigali city in 1994. He began calling his witnesses on 17 May.

The trial itself had begun on 8 January 2007. Until the suspension of the proceedings 10 July, the defence had called 20 witnesses. It will continue this exercise roughly until 9 September.

Lastly, on 27 August, the Tribunal will continue the hearing of defence witnesses in the trial of Siméon Nshamihigo, former deputy Prosecutor in Cyangugu (south western Rwanda).

The Nshamihigo trial began on 22 September 2006. The accused called his first defence witness on 23 April 2007.

At the adjournment, 3 May, he had called 14 witnesses. The session should finish around 21 September. The defence should have finished calling about thirty witnesses which remain.

© Hirondelle News Agency