In the absence of his assigned counsel, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora requested a replacement of counsel this morning at the opening of his initial appearance before Trial Chamber 2 presided by Judge William Sekule and composed of Judges Yakov Ostrovsky and Navanethem PiIlay.
The Office of the Registrar recalled that in spite of all the arrangements that had been made, Counsel Benjamin Ondingui missed his flight and was unable to attend his client's initial appearance.
The President of the Chamber, Judge William Sekule, asked the accused if he was prepared to plead to the charges being brought against him by the Prosecutor in the absence of his counsel. Colonel Théoneste Bagosora stated that his first choice of counsel was Mr. de Temmerman and that Mr. Ondingui was only his second. In the absence of his assigned counsel, he wanted Mr. Luc de Temmerman who was in the gallery to be assigned as counsel.
The President of The Chamber recalled that assignment of counsel was the remit of the Registrar. The Chamber decided to adjourn the initial appearance of Théoneste Bagosora to 7 March 1997.
Colonel Théoneste Bagosora is accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocol II. He was transferred from Cameroon on 23 January 1997 along with 3 other accused.
On another front, the joint trial of Clément Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana opened this morning before Trial Chamber 1. As a result of a consensus reached by all the parties concerned, it was decided that the trial be postponed to 8 April 1997. The only courtroom available is currently being used for the Jean-Paul Akayesu trial.