The trial of Jean-Paul Akyesu before the Trial Chamber 1of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) began on Thursday 26 September 1996 with the review of two preliminary motions, one submitted by the Prosecutor, demanding that some measures be taken for the protection of witnesses, and the other by the defence Iawyer, Me Johan Scheers, regarding the form of the indictment and the inadmissibility of the prosecutor's evidence.
After hearing both parties in the presence of the accused, Jean-Paul Akayesu, the Trial Chamber 1, composed of Judge Yakov. A. Ostrovsky (presiding), Judge Lennart Aspegren and Judge Navanethem Pillay, ruled as follows:
I) As regards the motions submitted by the prosecutor for the protection of witnesses, seven measures were taken. These are similar to those taken the day before in the case of Georges Anderson N. Rutaganda, and include the following:
- non-disclosure of the names, addresses of the witnesses; no photograph, video record or sketch;
- no names, addresses, whereabouts or any other identifying data concerning the witnesses referred to in the supporting documents and/or any disclosed witness statements shall be divulged either to the media, the public or the defence until such time as the witnesses are brought under the protection of the Tribunal.
Like in the case of Rutaganda, the Tribunal decided that any names, addresses, whereabouts of, and identifying information concerning the witnesses contained in existing public records be expunged from those documents. Those names, addresses shall be sealed. Only pseudonyms shall be used in the Tribunal's proceedings and discussions. Moreover, the Prosecutor shall disclose the names and redacted statements of the witnesses to the defence in sufficient time to allow the defence to prepare for trial.
Concerning the preliminary motions made by the defence rengarding the form of the indictment and the inadmissibility of evidence, as presented by the prosecution, in the case of Jean-Paul Akayesu, the Trial Chamber 1 took notice of each issue upon its merits.
With the agreement of the two parties, the Trial Chamber 1 decided, on Friday 27 September 1996, to postpone the trial of Jean-Paul Akayesu to 31 October 1996.