06.03.08 - ICTR/MILITARY II - TRIAL OF FOUR HIGH RANKING RWANDAN OFFICERS ADJOURNED TO MAY 26

Arusha, 6 March 2008 (FH) - The trial of four high ranking Rwandan army officers, accused of 1994 genocide, has been adjourned to 26 May before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
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The trial was scheduled to adjourn on 14 March, but had to wind up early because of unavailability of defence witnesses.

The defendants are two former chiefs of staff, Generals Augustin Bizimungu and Augustin Ndindiliyimana respectively in charge of the army and the gendarmerie during the April-July killings, and two officers of the reconnaissance battalion, an elite unit of the former Rwandan army, Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu.

All four have pleaded not guilty.

Currently it is General Ndindiliyimana who was presenting his defence case and will continue when the case resumes.

He followed General Bizimungu, first to call defence witnesses in the case.

So far Ndindiliyimana has called 27 witnesses. He still has between 25 and 30 witnesses to testify, according to his lead counsel, Christopher Black of Canada.

However, the chamber has asked the defence counsel to reduce his list and complete presentation of the witnesses by end of June to allow another accused, Nzuwonemeye start immediately the defence case.

The trial is presided by Sri Lankan Judge Joseph Asoka de Silva. The bench also includes Judges Taghrid Hikmet (Jordan) and Seon Ki Park (South Korea).

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