Trial Chamber 2 today granted Mr. Gaétan Bourassa's request for replacement as Defence Counsel for Mr. Laurent Semanza following his failure to appear in court or to bring a standing Counsel. The Chamber composed of Judges William Sekule (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky, and Tafazzal Khan directed the Registrar to assign another Counsel to the accused. The trial of Mr. Semanza was scheduled to begin today.
The decision to replace the Counsel was reached after the Chamber took into account that Counsel Bourassa had made no up to date position of when he will be available for trial and also the fact that he had his commitments in Canada. The Chamber decided to take up and consider a motion filed by the Defence requesting "Postponement of today's trial" under Rule 73 (a) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence or "Replacement of the Counsel".
Mr. Laurent Semanza, a former Bourgmestre of Bicumbi, has pleaded "not guilty" to seven counts charging him with Genocide, Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violations of Article 3 Common to the Genev/a Conventions and of Additional to Protocol II.
Before Trial Chamber 1 : Resumption of Rutaganda's Trial
The trial of Mr. Georges Anderson N. Rutaganda, a former businessman and Vice-President of Interahamwe, is scheduled to resume on Monday 8 February 1999. The trial of Mr. Rutaganda was adjourned late last year, on the request of the Defence Counsel.