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Initial appearance of Omar Serushago, a former militia leader, set for 14 December 1998

The initial appearance of Omar Serushago, a former leader of the Interahamwe militia in Gisenyi Prefecture, will take place on Monday 14 December 1998 before Trial Chamber 1. The accused, who is defended by Counsel Mohamed Ismail from Tanzania, will enter a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty" to the charges brought against him by the Tribunal.

Journalists are requested to be in the Press and Public gallery at 9.00 am. Press passes issued to them this year are still valid.


Laurent Semanza's Trial Begins on 3 February 1999

Following rejection by Trial Chamber 2 today of a Defence motion seeking postponement of the trial to September 1999, the trial of Laurent Semanza, a former Bourgmestre of Bicumbi, will begin on 3 February 1999 as planned.

The Defence Counsel Mr. Gaétan Bourassa from Canada had sought postponement of the date of Trial because he argued having had little time to prepare the case due to ill health.

The Prosecution had argued against the motion saying there was still adequate time to prepare for the trial which after all will begin with the Prosecution case.

Semanza 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 Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II.

Earlier, the Trial Chamber 2 ruled in favour of a motion filed by the Prosecution for protective measures for witnesses in the case. The Prosecution had argued that exceptional circumstances existed in Rwanda and in the region to warrant the application of such measurers to its witnesses.

The trial of Laurent Semanza will be the second to start early next year. The first will be that of Alfred Musema, former Director of a tea factory in Kibuye, scheduled to begin on 25 January 1999.

For information only - Not an official document

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