ARUSHA 16 May 2002 (Internews) The defense team for genocide suspect Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda will present 30 witnesses when the trial resumes before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on 19 August 2002.
The prosecution presented 27 witnesses before completing its case on Tuesday. The trial started anew on 3 September 2001 following the death of presiding Judge Laity Kama of Senegal on 6 May 2001. The trial opened for only one day on 17 April 2000 before Judge Kama fell sick.
Kamuhanda, 48, was a minister for education and scientific research during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He has denied nine counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Kamuhanda allegedly committed the crimes in Gikomero commune, central Rwanda.
Aicha Conde of Guinea Conakry, lead counsel for Kamuhanda, told Internews today that of the 30 witnesses, six would be alibi witnesses and three others would testify on Rwanda’s political scene in 1994, especially on the allegation that Kamuhanda was an influential member of the Movement of the Republic for National Development (MRND), the party that led a coalition government during the genocide.
The defense will also present an expert witness and another witness who will give evidence about Kamuhanda’s character.
Kamuhanda was arrested in Bourges, France on 26 November 1999. He made his initial appearance before the tribunal on 24 March 2000, where he denied all charges against him.
The trial is held before Trial Chamber II of the ICTR, comprising Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramarason of Madagascar.