The case of The Prosecutor v. Casimir Bizimungu, Justin Mugenzi, Jerôme Bicamumpaka, and Prosper Mugiraneza (often referred to as the Government II Case) will resume on Monday 7 June 2004. The trial was originally set for continuation on Monday 3 May 2004. On 28 April 2004, Presiding Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana informed the President of the Tribunal, Judge Erik Møse, that he will retire for health reasons.
According to Rule 15 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the President may assign another judge to replace a judge who because of illness is unable to continue sitting in a part-heard case. After the opening statements or the beginning of the presentation of evidence, continuation may only be ordered, under sub-paragraph (C), with the consent of the accused. On 6 May 2004, all four accused in the Government Case had informed the President that they consented to the continuation of the trial with another judge.
Following a request by the President, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has appointed Judge Emile Francis Short (Ghana) to sit as an ad litem judge in the Government Case. Consequently, the Trial Chamber section will be composed of Judge Khalida Rachid Khan (presiding), Judge Lee Gacuiga Muthoga, and Judge Short. The period until 7 June 2004 will give the newly appointed judge sufficient time to familiarize himself with the record of the proceedings. The trial started on 5 November 2003. So far, twenty-eight Prosecution witnesses have been heard.
Born in 1942, Judge Gunawardana was a Judge in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka until he took up office at the Tribunal in May 1999. From June 2001 to June 2003, he was a member of the Appeals Chamber in The Hague. Having been informed by the President of Judge Gunawardana’s decision to retire, the Secretary-General will appoint a person to fill the vacancy for the remainder of Judge Gunawardana’s term, in accordance with Article 12 bis (2) of the Statute.
Judge Gunawardana is the second judge retiring from the Tribunal in 2004. Judge Lloyd George Williams (St. Kitts and Nevis) left at the end of March 2004 at the age of 76. The Secretary General has appointed Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron (St. Kitts and Nevis) to replace him. Judge Byron, who is Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, will arrive in Arusha soon.