After one and a half months of proceedings Trial Chamber 1, before which Jean-Paul Akayesu was appearing, has ordered an adjournment until 6 March 1997. The trial of Georges Anderson Rutaganda, which was to have commenced on that date has been postponed to 11 March 1997.
Thc trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu began on 9 January 1997.
19 prosecution witnesses have been heard, including 5 expert witnesses; slides as well as maps of Rwanda were used to help the Chamber and the public visualise locations where a part of the killings allegedly took place.
The witnesses’ testimonies were characterized by examinations, cross-examinations and requests for clarification made by the Judges.
The prosecution witnesses were protected in accordance with the decision rendered by the Tribunal on 27 September 1996, at the request of the Prosecutor. No mention of elements likely to identify them in any way was allowed. Their anonymity was entirely respected, and each time a given letter of the alphabet was used as a pseudonym. Witnesses K, E, L, M or Y took the stand one after the other and testified as to what he and his family was subjected to, or about what they allegedly heard or saw.
According to President Kama, these weeks of the trial went smoothly for both the defence and the prosecution.
The trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu will resume on 6 March 1997, with the hearing of new prosecution witnesses.
This week though, the Judges of Trial Chamber 1 as well as the Vice-President of the Tribunal have gone to Cape Town where they were invited by “Parliamentarians for Global Action”, a non-governmental organisation of parliamentarians, who are organising, with the support of the South African government, a meeting on the theme : Securing State Cooperation and compliance: the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.