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Trial of Juvenal Kajelijeli postponed

The trial of Juvenal Kajelijeli, former Mayor of Mukingo, which was scheduled to begin today, has been postponed to March this year because the Trial Chamber has to first deliberate and make a ruling on a Prosecution motion seeking leave to amend the indictment. The motion was argued today before Trial Chamber II composed of Judges Laïty Kama, presiding, William Sekule and Mehmet Güney.

Arguing the motion the Prosecution told the Trial Chamber that the amended indictment had only given additional particulars of the charges against the accused and had not added to the charges in the original indictment in which he was jointly charged with seven other accused. All the evidence the Prosecution would rely upon had been disclosed to the Defence which would not suffer and prejudice.

The Defence opposed the motion on the amendment because it alleged that the proposed amended indictment had completely new allegations, which were not in the original indictment.

Presenting a Defence motion seeking to withdraw as lead counsel, Defence Counsel Lennox Hinds from the USA told the Trial Chamber that there were exceptional circumstances compelling him to do so. These include, the withdrawal of his co-Counsel Richard Harvey due to other commitments; the departure of his two office associates in the USA; and commitments he had as a legal representative of the Republic of South Africa in the USA.

However, Mr. Hinds added that he might be able to get time in March to properly arrange his work schedule. Previously, he said, it would not be possible for him to effectively represent his client before 30 June 2001. The Trial Chamber ruled that arrangements be made to review the situation during a meeting with all parties in March this year.

Kajelijeli is facing eleven counts charging him with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions. He pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

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