Arusha, February 7, 2000 (FH) - A prosecution witness in the trial of former mayor of Mabanza (Kibuye prefecture, western Rwanda) Ignace Bagilishema on Monday admitted before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he had participated in the 1994 genocide. The 14th prosecution witness, a 46-year-old Hutu man, is currently a prisoner in Rwanda where he is accused of genocide.

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Witness "Y" told the ICTR that he killed three people on a roadblock opposite Bagilishema's communal offices. However, he was unable to state categorically the link between the accused and these killings. "I don't know who had the authority to get the roadblocks set up," the witness told the court. "I was called to the roadblock opposite the communal offices by two peasant farmers who were manning it. I cannot say it was the mayor who ordered it to be put there, although the two farmers told me he had recommended that. "Witness Y, designated as such to protect his identity, said that on the roadblocks "our task was to look after security, because the country was at war. We were looking for enemies of Rwanda. " He did not, however, specify who these enemies were. "I killed them [the three victims] because people told me they were the enemies of my country," the witness told the court. He said two of the victims were Tutsi, including the wife of a Mabanza medical assistant. Witness Y said he had killed the doctor's wife because he had been told he would otherwise be killed himself. He said he had killed the two others for money. "I have confessed my crimes before God," the witness continued, " and I admitted them voluntarily to the current Rwandan authorities. " Witness Y is waiting to be brought before a court in Rwanda. Bagilishema's Mauritanian co-counsel, Maroufa Diabira, had earlier asked the court to adjourn the hearing until Wednesday, so that lead counsel François Roux of France could be present. The court did not grant his request. Diabira said the defence team should be at full strength especially because of the sensitive nature of testimonies from the three witnesses currently present in Arusha. All three have been brought from Rwandan jails, and all three are ready to confess to the Rwandan authorities. The trial is expected to continue Tuesday with the hearing of the fifteenth prosecution witness. After the three prisoners, the prosecution is due to close its case with the testimonies of an expert witness from Europe and another protected witness. BN/JC/FH (BS%0207e)