Arusha, January 23rd, 2001 (FH) - Former Rwandan Transport Minister André Ntagerura called for the killing of Tutsis in Cyangugu prefecture, southwest Rwanda, in April 1994, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. The sixteenth prosecution witness, dubbed MZ to protect his identity, told the UN court that he heard Ntagerura instruct villagers to hunt down the enemy because they had "killed the head of state".

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Former minister Ntagerura, former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki, and Samuel Imanishimwe, who was commander of the army barracks in the prefecture, are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. They have pleaded not guilty. Witness MZ is a Tutsi man who survived the 1994 genocide. He said that after the death of former President Juvénal Habyarimana was announced, houses belonging to Tutsis were torched, and many fled to the bush. MZ said that while in hiding, he heard Ntagerura tell a meeting: "I no longer want to hear of any Tutsis living in this hill. " The witness also quoted Ntagerura as saying that “the enemy is not far away” and that the “enemy” was amongst people’s neighbours. Witness MZ told the court that on April 14th, 1994, a message was broadcast through loudspeakers urging people in hiding to come out, as peace had been restored. However, MZ said those who did come out of hiding were killed, and that on April 18th he saw some of the corpses. MZ told the court that he later fled to Nyarushishi where other Tutsi refugees had gathered. The hearing of the case continues with cross-examination of the witness. This case is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of Judges Lloyd Williams of Jamaica (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JC/FH (CY_0123e)