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Trial of Emmanuel Ndindabahizi Opens

The trial of Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, former minister of Finance in the Interim Government of Rwanda from April to July 1994, opened today before Trial chamber I composed of Judge Erik Møse (Presiding), Judge Khalida Rachid Khan, and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa (ad litem Judge*).This is the first time an ad litem Judge will be sitting in a trial before Rwanda Tribunal. This follows the decision of Trial Chamber I to sit in the shift system everyday.

During his opening statement, the Prosecutor said that he wishes to finish his presentation of evidence within four weeks. Pursuant to Article 84 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence the Defense Counsel will make his opening statement after the presentation of the evidence by the Prosecutor.

Emmanuel Ndindabahizi is charged with genocide, extermination and murder as crimes against humanity. He is alleged to have led a campaign of extermination against the civilian population identified as Tutsi in Kibuye Prefecture. The campaign was concentrated in the region where the accused spent his childhood, and where he had risen through the local and regional political administration to become a Government Minister.

Mr. Ndindabahizi is alleged to have incited and ordered persons at roadblocks in Kibuye Prefecture to kill civilians identified as Tutsi. At times, he individually addressed local administrative officials and named particular civilians to be killed. Ndindabahizi is represented by Defense Counsel, Pascal Besnier from France.

Meanwhile, Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa from Uganda, one of the eighteen ad litem Judges elected by the General Assembly, was sworn in today. The ceremony was administered by the President of the Tribunal, Judge Erik Møse, and witnessed on behalf of the Secretary-General by the Deputy Registrar, Mr. Lovemore Munlo who was representing the Registrar, Mr. Adama Dieng. The swearing-in ceremony took place in the presence of Trial Chamber Judges, the Deputy Prosecutor and representatives of the Defense Counsel.

Born on 14 April 1956, Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa started her career in 1980 as a lecturer at the Law development centre in Uganda. From 1988 to 1997 she was an advocate with the High Court of Uganda. In 1997 she was appointed as judge of the High Court of Uganda. Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa was appointed in 2001 as one of the first woman judges of the East African Court of Justice.

From today, Trial Chamber I will sit alternately every day in the “Military I” case in the morning session from 08:30 to 13:00, and in the Ndindabahizi case in the afternoon session from 14:00 to 19:00.

* Ad litem judges are chosen from a 'pool' of judges elected by the General Assembly of the UN to assist in particular cases. They will assist the ICTR by allowing each Trial Chamber to split into two sections of three judges each. This will double the trial capacity of each Chamber and will thereby enable the Tribunal to complete its mandate as expeditiously as possible.

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