Arusha, May 9, 2001 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday rejected part of a prosecution witness's testimony in the trial of three former leaders suspected of committing genocide in Cyangugu, southwest Rwanda. The 23rd prosecution witness, dubbed "LC" to protect his identity, told the court that on April 14th he saw groups of people at a place called Mukadasomwa in Cyangugu, who were later killed.

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However he said that he did not see how they died and that a colleague had informed him they were massacred, that former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki knew about it and did not intervene. Witness LC said that a colleague who saw the killings told him he had informed the prefect Bagambiki of the fate of the people and sought his (Bagambiki's) advice on what to do following the killings. According to LC, the prefect told those who sought his advice to get prisoners to go and bury the bodies. Bagambiki's defence co-counsel Luc Boutin (Canada) objected to this evidence, saying that it was new evidence only transmitted to the defence on May 7th. Boutin added that the evidence was hearsay as witness LC did not see the killings but was told about it by his colleague. The court granted his objection. Bagambiki is being tried in this case with Samuel Imanishimwe, the ex-commander of Cyangugu military barracks, and former Transport Minister André Ntagerura. All three are accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution says they conspired together to organise the extermination of Tutsis in Cyangugu. Earlier, LC said that three people from the Kamembe commune in Cyangugu were led to a military camp, taken to a roadblock at Gatandara and killed at the behest of Imanishimwe. "Next day, we took their bodies and buried them," said LC. Imanishimwe's defence raised an objection to this evidence, but the objection was overruled. The witness told the court that on April 8th,1994, after the announcement of the death of former President Juvénal Habyarimana, he was collected from his house by a workmate. LC told the court that when all the workers were assembled at the prefecture offices, a security meeting was held and the prefect delegated duties. "After this meeting, we learned that killings had started and shops were looted," he said. Cross-examination of the witness will continue on Thursday, 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 (CY0509E)