Arusha, November 2nd, 2000 (FH) - Former Rwandan military leader Samuel Imanishimwe angrily stripped a gendarme of his uniform for protecting Tutsi refugees in a church complex in 1994, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday. The eleventh prosecution witness, dubbed "LAM" to protect his identity, told the court that he had participated in attacks against Tutsi in the Cyangugu region of southwest Rwanda after the death of former President Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6th, 1994.

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He said that killings started on the 10th, after authorities "told us that the Tutsi were inyenzi [literally cockroaches]" . Imanishimwe was military commander of Cyangugu barracks during the genocide. He is being tried jointly with former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki and former Transport Minister André Ntagerura. The three are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. Witness LAM said that authorities instructed assailants to cause chaos around the Nyamasheke Parish where Tutsis were taking refuge, to give the impression that the refugees were a security threat and provide an excuse to attack them. An attack on Nyamasheke Parish on April 13th left three members of the Interahamwe militia dead while one gendarme guarding the refugees was wounded, the witness said. He added that the Interahamwe were with the attackers. The witness said that after this attack, Cyangugu prefect Bagambiki, Imanishimwe and the Bishop of Nyamasheke Parish called a meeting. During the meeting, Imanishimwe expressed anger at the wounded gendarme because the three Interahamwe members had died. He stripped the gendarme of his uniform and then took him away, the witness told the court. The witness said that during another attack on the Parish on April 15th, thousands of Tutsi refugees were killed using machetes, grenades and clubs. He added that the attackers brought petrol and "burned the bodies that were heaped in the courtyard of the Parish". "Then," he continued, "we burned the people who were alive". The following day, LAM said, "we went to loot" at the Parish compound. He added that some more Interahamwe, led by militia leader Yussuff Munyakazi, sought out women and child survivors who had been hiding, and rounded them up. "Each young man could take a woman and leave with her," said LAM. "Grenades were thrown at those who were left in the court yard […] As for the little girls who refused to follow the Interahamwe, it was said they had displayed arrogance and should be killed more savagely. Therefore they were thrown alive into latrines. "The trial is being heard by Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of Judges Lloyd Williams of Jamaica (presiding),Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. The prosecution says that more than 100,000 Tutsis were massacred in Cyangugu prefecture in the space of 23 days. SW/JC/FH (CY%1102e)