The trial of George Rutaganda, a former businessman and Vice-President of Interahamwe, resumed today before Trial Chamber 1 when the Defence began its case by calling expert witness Dr. Jean Shimamungu, a linguist.
Led by Defence Counsel Tiphaine Dickson from Canada, the witness began his testimony by explaining to the court the lexicological science of the Kinyarwanda language. A total of 22 Prosecution witnesses have already testified in the case which began 18 March 1997.
The resumption of the Rutaganda case also heralded the opening of the third courtroom which was used for the first time. The new courtroom, which will be formally inaugurated soon, will now enable the Tribunal to conduct three trials simultaneously.
George Rutaganda was arrested on 10 October 1995 in Lusaka, Zambia, and transferred to Arusha on 26 May 1996. On 30 May 1997, during his initial appearance, he pleaded "not guilty” to eight counts charging him with Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions.
The trial of Alfred Musema, a former director of Gisovu Tea Factory, which began on 25 January 1998 before the same Trial Chamber 1, has been adjourned to enable the trial of George Rutaganda to resume.
Members of Advisory Panel on Defence Counsel chosen
Two permanent and two supplementary members of the Advisory Panel pursuant to Article 29 of the Directive on Assignment of Defence Counsel have been chosen by the Tribunal. A meeting chaired by the President of the Tribunal Judge Laïty Kama and attended by three Defence Counsels and two senior officials of the Tribunal, on 5 February 1999, chose Arielle H. Jarret (United States of America) and Fakhy Konate (Ivory Coast) as permanent members; and David Hooper (United Kingdom) and Dominique Tricaud (France) as supplementary members.