Arusha, January 17, 2001(FH) - The trial of three former Rwandan leaders accused of crimes in Cyangugu region of southwest Rwanda during the 1994 genocide resumed Wednesday, when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) started activities after an end-of-year judicial break. The leaders are former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki, former Transport Minister André Ntagerura and Samuel Imanishimwe, who was commander of Cyangugu military barracks.

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All three are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution says they conspired together to organize the extermination of Tutsis in Cyangugu. The hearing was adjourned on November 29th last year, after 13 prosecution witnesses had testified. The hearing resumed with the testimony of the 14th prosecution witness dubbed "LAN" to protect his identity. Witness LAN told the court that two of the suspects, Ntagerura and Bagambiki, made statements to incite the Hutus against the Tutsis during a meeting in Bushenge, Cyangugu, on February 7th, 1993. The witness said that during this meeting, the Interahamwe (militia) entertained the gathering with songs calling for the "crushing of the Inyenzi and Inkotanyi" (referring to the Tutsis). He added that the leaders, including Bagambiki and Ntagerura, "sang along and applauded" to this message. "Bagambiki from time to time threw in a slogan ’long live Habyarimana’," the witness told the court. LAN said that in his speech, Ntagerura spoke about the peace talks in Arusha "and gave the opinion that the Rwanda government was not in support". According to LAN, the former national chairman of the MRND Matthieu Ngirumptase, currently in detention in Arusha, and Interahamwe chief Yussuf Munyakazi, who is on the run, were among those present during the meeting in Bushenge. 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 same Chamber is hearing the trial of former Bicumbi Mayor Laurent Semanza which will continue in March. SW/JC/FH (CY%0117e)