Hearing of the testimony of General Romeo Dallaire, former Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) which was scheduled to begin today in the case of Jean-Paul Akayesu, has been postponed because one of the Judges in Trial Chamber 1, in which the trial is being held, is indisposed.
Announcing the postponement to journalists assembled in Arusha to cover the case, the President of the Tribunal Judge Laïty Kama and the Registrar, Mr. Agwu Okali said Judge Lennart Aspegren had a minor accident while riding a horse on Sunday 22 February 1998. "We will inform you when the trial will resume," said the Registrar. The President further stated the health of Judge Aspegren gave no cause for concern and that he has been kept under observation in his house on the recommendation of the physician up to tomorrow Tuesday or Wednesday, at the very latest. Other members of the Trial Chamber are Judge Laïty Kama, presiding, and Judge Navanethem Pillay.
General Dallaire will appear as a witness for the Defence. On 13 January 1998, the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, partially waived the immunity of General Dallaire so that he can testify in the Akayesu trial concerning the offences alleged to have been committed by the latter.
In a brief statement to journalists at Arusha this morning General Dallaire thanked the Secretary-General Kofi Annan for allowing him to come to Arusha to testify in the case. He also paid tribute to members of the press for their role in exposing the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
Barayagwiza Pleads "Not Guilty" to Six Counts
In another development, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, a former Director of Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and senior officer in the administration of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), pleaded "not guilty" today to six counts charging him with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity .
Barayagwiza is alleged to have presided over several meetings to plan the killing of Tutsis and certain Hutus in the Commune of Mutura, Gisenyi Prefecture. He is also charged with distributing weapons and money, instigating and ordering killings and acts of violence against Tutsis and certain Hutus in the commune.
The accused, born in 1950 in Mutura Commune is defended by Counsel Justry Nyaberi from Kenya. He was arrested in Cameroon on 27 March 1996 and transferred to Arusha on 19 November 1997.