Arusha, May 14, 2001 (FH) - A prosecution witness on Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) how the body of his slain father was exhumed from a pit latrine six years after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. His father was one of 17 refugees allegedly ordered out of a stadium by genocide suspect Emmanuel Bagambiki, and who were subsequently killed.

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The witness, dubbed "LCA" to protect his identity, is testifying in the trial of Bagambiki, who was prefect of Cyangugu (southwest Rwanda), and two other suspects accused of genocide in Cyangugu. The other two are former head of Cyangugu military barracks Samuel Imanishimwe, and former Transport Minister André Ntagerura. LCA said his father's body was exhumed from a pit latrine in Cyangugu on April 28th last year, and that he had been able to identify it "because it was not totally decomposed". He said there were 16 other bodies, and all but one were identified as the refugees that had been removed from the stadium on Bagambiki's orders. LCA said he was able to identify his father's body because of distinctive marks such as a scar on the head and long fingers. The feet, he later told the court, had been cut off. LCA said he could also remember and identify the clothes his father was wearing. But the defence took issue with a prosecution exhibit, a piece of cloth allegedly removed from the body of the witness's father. LCA had told the court that after exhumation his father's body was cleaned, re-clothed and the original clothes thrown away. The defence questioned how he had been able to identify a piece of cloth nearly two weeks later to ICTR investigators, and suggested that the exhibit was not reliable evidence. LCA said he and his father were among Tutsi refugees that fled to Cyangugu Cathedral after learning of the death of former president Juvénal Habyarimana on April 6th, 1994. The witness told the court that on April 15th, Bagambiki ordered the refugees to head for the Kamarampaka stadium, against their will. According to LCA, soldiers were placed to guard the stadium. He said the prefect Bagambiki called a meeting at which he read out a list of 16 names, including that of LCA's father. The named people were then removed from the stadium. LCA said that had been the last time before the exhumation of the body that he had seen his father. The case is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of Judges Lloyd Williams of St Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JC/FH (0514e)