Arusha, November 15th, 2000 (FH) - Tutsis seeking refuge at the residenceof former Rwandan mayor Laurent Semanza were gunned down on his orders, awitness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (1CTR) onWednesday. The sixth prosecution witness, dubbed "VI" to protect his identity, saidthe victims were killed at Semanza's residence in central Rwanda on April8th, 1994, just a day after the annoucement that former Rwandan presidientJuvénal Habyarimana had been killed.

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He said some other people had beenkilled at the home of Semanza's sister on April 7th. Witness VI was testifying in the case against former Bicumbi mayor Semanzawho is charged with 14 counts of genocide and crimes against humanityrelated to massacres of Tutsis in the communes of Gikoro and Bicumbi,central Rwanda, in 1994. The witness, a Hutu, said that he knew Semanza before he became mayor, whenthe suspect was working at the commune office in Bicumbi. "Since theperiod when he became mayor he has never said nice things about the Tutsi,"VI told the court. According to the witness, Semanza at one time convened a meeting at thecommune where he called on the people to 'kill all the Inkotanyi [termused to refer to the Tutsi] when in the field cultivating or at home". Headded that the mayor said if the Hutus were farming they could kill theInkotanyi with hoes or machetes. "He said the Inkotanyi guns fired peas, sothey should not be afraid of them," VI told the court. The witness said that he lived closed to Semanza's residence in Gahengeriand witnessed people undergoing training on the use of arms. He said thatonce when he went to the commune office, he saw weapons being distributedopenly. VI told the court that some Interahamwe militia had set up camp within thecommune office and were being trained by soldiers from Kanombe commune. Semanza is appearing before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed ofjudges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), George Williams of Jamaicaand Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. The trial was adjourned until December 4th. Trial Chamber Three is alsohearing the case against three genocide suspects accused of crimes in theCyangugu region of southwest Rwanda. The so-called Cyangugu Trial resumeson Monday 20th. SW/JC/FH (SE%1109E )