Arusha, September 24, 2001 (FH) - Genocide suspect Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana ordered the destruction of a church roof to expose Tutsi refugees to rain in the west Rwandan province of Kibuye during the 1994 genocide, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday. Seventh Day Adventist Elizaphan Ntakirutimana is being jointly tried with his son Gerald Ntakirutimana.

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At the time of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Elizaphan was pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist church at Mugonero in Kibuye. Gerald was a medical doctor at the infirmary which lay in the same complex. The two are charged with five counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed during the 1994 genocide. The church allegedly destroyed on the orders of Elizaphan was in Murambi district in Kibuye. Protected prosecution witness "GG", dubbed as such to shield his identity, said that Elizaphan had come to the church in the company of his son Gerard. Witness GG further testified that Elizaphan and Gerard had led militia attacks on Mubuga, Muyira, and Rwiramba hills in Kibuye. In the attack on Mubuga, said GG, the two accused drove two truckloads of militiamen to a school where Tutsis had taken refuge. "They killed people until evening," GG said of the militia. The witness also said the militia had come to the school chanting "attack them, exterminate them". GG told the court that he was a survivor of the attacks in Mugonero area. He also said that he had attended Elizaphan's church and had been baptized by Elizaphan. Unreliable testimony?At the beginning of cross-examination, Gerard's American lawyer Edward Medvene urged the court to throw out the whole of GG's testimony, saying that the same witness had appeared in an earlier case before the ICTR when his testimony was dismissed as unreliable. GG apparently testified in the case of former Kibuye prefect Clement Kayishema and businessman Obed Ruzindana. The prosecution objected to the defence request, saying that the witness was currently testifying on different events and different accused. The Chamber ruled that defence was free to challenge the witness's credibility during cross-examination and its closing arguments. Presiding judge Erik Mose of Norway said the court would take note of the defence and prosecution arguments during final evaluation of the testimony. The case is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of judges Erik Mose of Norway (presiding), Navanethem Pillay of South Africa and new judge Andrésia Vaz of Senegal. Judge Pillay is currently away for a week on mission. GG/JC/PHD/FH (NK0924e)