The trial for Adventist pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana and his son Gerard, a medical doctor, was today adjourned until April. Judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said they would announce the exact date of resumption of trial "in due course."
When the trial resumed 4 February 2002 after a two-month break, the defense opened its case. The prosecution team closed its case in November after presenting 17 witnesses.
Ramsey Clark of the United States represents Elizaphan and David Jacobs of Canada represents Gerard. The defense presented 9 witnesses during the two-week hearing that ended today. The attorneys estimate that they will call a total of 34 defense witnesses, including Elizaphan and Gerard.
The defense has presented witnesses to support their claim that Elizaphan and Gerard were not in Mugonero on 16 April 1994 when militiamen attacked the Mugonero Adventist Complex, killing an estimated 5000 refugees.
The prosecution claims that Elizaphan, 77, and Gerard, 45, participated in the16 April attack. They are also accused of pursuing ethnic Tutsi refugees to Murambi area and Bisesero hills, all in Kibuye Province, where they participated in more attacks between May and June 1994. The father and son have denied seven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Among the defense witnesses who have testified is Jerome Nataki, Elizaphan's son and brother of Gerard. Two more of Elizaphan's children are expected to testify when the trial resumes.
Two witnesses this week told the court that the Ntakirutimanas and their families left Mugonero for Gishyita on 16 April 1994.
The two were domestic workers for the Ntakirutimanas.
The trial is held before Trial Chamber I of the ICTR, comprising Judges Eric Mose of Norway (presiding), Navanethem Pillay of South Africa and Andresia Vaz of Senegal.
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