Muhanga, 22 July 2008 (FH) – Two defence witnesses testified that they did not see the former Rwandan Minister for Justice accused of genocide, Agnes Ntamabyariro, in Gitarama, Southern Province, during the 1994 killings, reports Hirondelle Agency. The minister, who has been on trial for almost a year now, is the only member of the then interim government tried by the Rwanda justice.

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Others were tried or are currently on trial before the Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
The witnesses, who have been convicted for crimes of genocide during April-July slaughter, claimed that they had “not seen Ntamabyariro nor heard anyone speak of her presence in Gitarama [during the killings]”.
The former justice boss is being prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and murder of Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, then the Governor of Butare, and of the godson of her husband.
She is also accused of organizing meetings to incite genocide and distribution of weapons in Nyanza and Kibuye, her native prefecture.
In Muhanga, the former prefecture of Gitarama, where the interim government was accused of planning the genocide had taken refuge, the chamber went for the testimony of witnesses for the murder of Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, which the defendant allegedly was the sponsor.
According to a prosecution witness, Ntamabyariro signed and issued a release order for Habyarimana detained in Gitarama, and he was immediately killed a few meters from the prison.
“The fact that these witnesses affirm not to have seen her in Gitarama does not exclude in anyway the acts for which she is being prosecuted”, Alphonse Hitiyaremye, assistant prosecutor general stressed.
She is defended by Gatera Gashabana, chairman of the Kigali Bar.
Ntamabyariro was arrested in Zambia in 1997, where she had been in exile.