On 29 November, Elie Ndayambaje and Joseph Kanyabashi appeared for the first time before the ICTR Trial Chambers. Gerard Ntakirutimana appeared on 2 December before the Tribunal.
On 8 November, both Elie Ndayambaje and Joseph Kanyabashi were transferred from Belgium to the Tribunal Detention Facility in Arusha.
Elie Ndayambaje was assisted by a counsel that has been assigned to him, Charles Tchoungang from Cameroon, and he pleaded not guilty to all five counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of article 3 common to the Geneva conventions and of additional Protocol II. He appeared before the Trial Chamber, composed of Judge Yakov Ostrovsky, Presiding Judge, (Russia), Judge Lennart Aspegren (Sweden) and Judge Navanethem Pillay (South Africa).
The accused, however, stated that he wanted another defence counsel and that he had written to the Presiding Judge to express his concern. The Court declared that it was satisfied that the rights of the accused to defend himself had been respected at this stage of the proceedings.
The ruling of the Tribunal was as follows:
On the question of disclosure, the Court ruled that all the documents should be handed over to the defence one week before 21 January 1997.
His trial was set for 20 May 1997.
Joseph Kanyabashi was assisted by his assigned counsel, Evans Monari trom Kenya, but he, however, stated that he had chosen another defence counsel and did not want to be assisted by Mr. Monari, saying that Mr. Monari did not speak French and therefore that he could not communicate with him.
Joseph Kanyabashi declined to plead to any of the counts, saying "I cannot enter a plea without a counsel of my choice". The Trial Chamber composed of Judge Tafazzal Hossain Khan (presiding), Judge Lennart Aspegren and Judge Navanethem Pillay, following the established rules, entered a plea of "not guilty" to all five counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and violations of common article 3 and of additional Protocol II .
The Court declared that it was satisfied that the rights of the accused to defend himself had been respected at this stage of the proceedings.
The accused was reminded that under Rule 19 D, he could approach the Registrar and the Chamber for a change of lawyer in "exceptional circumstances". Furthermore the Tribunal suggested that the prosecution should provide full disclosure to the defence by 16 December 1996. His trial was set for 8 April 1997.
On 29.10.96, Gerard Ntakirutimana was arrested in the Ivory Coast. He was transferred to the Tribunal Detention Facility in Arusha on 30 November and appeared in front of the ICTR on 2 December .
Gerard Ntakirutimana pleaded not guilty to all six counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity on his first indictment, and to seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide crimes against humanity and serious violations of article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II on his second indictment. He appeared before the Trial Chamber composed of Judge Yakov Ostrovsky, Presiding Judge, Judge Lennart Aspegren and Judge Nevanethem Pillay.
The Tribunal set the following dates:
For the first indictment, the trial is scheduled for 8 May 1997, the date on which Obed Ruzindana will also be tried.
For the second indictment, the date was set for 12 August 1997.