Arusha, October 24th, 2000 (FH) - Former Rwandan prefect and genocide suspect Emmanuel Bagambiki offered a retired soldier 300,000 Rwandan francs as an incentive to kill Tutsis, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. Bagambiki was prefect of Cyangugu region in southwest Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.

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Witness "LAJ", said Bagambiki gave him 50,000 Rwandan francs as an advance, after a meeting at the Kamembe area in Cyangugu. The witness added that another accused person, former Cyangugu military leader Samuel Imanishimwe, was also present when the money was handed over. Bagambiki and Imanishimwe are on trial with former Transport Minister André Ntagerura in the so-called Cyangugu trial which started on September 18th. Witness LAJ was testifying for the second day after the trial resumed on Monday. All three are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution says they conspired together to organize the extermination of Tutsis in Cyangugu. LAJ, a retired soldier whom the authorities called to help with "civil defense", told the court that at the same meeting, Imanishimwe had given him grenades to use in attacks against Tutsis. "Bagambiki had money in his hands to boost my morale," the witness said. He said the prefect offered him 300,000 Rwandan francs but he replied that he needed more. Bagambiki, he continued, refused to increase the sum, saying that if they did not do what they were asked, the Tutsis would kill them. The witness also told the court that former Transport Minister Ntagerura addressed two meetings which he attended, on January 28th March 18th, 1994. Ntagerura's Canadian defense counsel Henry Benoit then cross-examined the witness, pointing out inconsistencies between the witness's written and oral testimonies. For example, he said LAJ had written that he was unable to leave his house from January to April, 1994, because of paralysis. However, the witness said he had only written that his movement was limited. The case 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 judges also responded to various issues raised by the defense. They rejected a motion calling for all defense counsels to be able to cross-examine witnesses. On Benoit's concern that he should be quickly assigned a co-counsel, the Chamber urged him to contact the ICTR Registry. Former lead counsel Fakhy Konate of Côte d'Ivoire announced at the start of trial that he was withdrawing at the request of Ntagerura, leaving Benoit to step into his shoes. The court also said that the dismissal of a defense assistant to Bagambiki's counsel was a matter for the Registry, and it did not wish to interfere. On Monday, Bagambiki's Belgian defense lawyer Vincent Lurquin had urged the judges to help him reinstate his defense assistant. The prosecution had earlier asked the court to disqualify the assistant because he had served as a legal intern (trainee) in ICTR prosecution. The court dismissed the prosecution motion but said it was up to the Registry to deal with assignment of counsel. The assistant was subsequently dismissed by the Registry. SW/JC/FH (CY%2410e)