Arusha, July 23, 2001 (FH) - A confessed Interahamwe militiaman told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday that he personally participated in the killings of more than 600 Tutsis on the orders of former Rwandan mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli. in 1994.

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Kajelijeli is accused of having ordered and presided over killings and rape of Tutsis by the Interahamwe (a youth wing of the then-ruling party MRND) during the 1994 genocide in Mukingo commune in the northern Rwandan province of Ruhengeri. Protected witness "GOA", a twenty three- year-old Hutu man, is detained in a Rwandan jail and has been brought to the ICTR in Arusha, along with two other detainee witnesses expected to testify in Kajelijeli's genocide trial. GOA, dubbed as such to protect his identity, pleaded guilty to genocide in Ruhengeri (northwest Rwanda) in 1997 and is in jail there awaiting sentencing. GOA also said that Kajelijeli and one Karorero had trained him and other youths in the use of weapons before dispatching them to kill Tutsis. Kajelijeli's defence counsel Lennox Hinds of the US suggested that, as a confessed criminal awaiting sentence, GOA was testifying against his client to get a lighter sentence. "I pleaded guilty long before Kajelijeli was arrested, "GOA replied. "I'm here to testify to facts that happened. "GOA testified that on April 7th, 1994, a day after the death of the former president which sparked the genocide, Kajelijeli summoned him and 33 other Interahamwe for a meeting in a bar that belonged to the former mayor. GOA quoted Kajelijeli has having told them: "The others have finished their work and you are still there. Go kill and exterminate all of those people at Rwankeri (in Ruhengeri). " The witness said that his group of Interahamwe immediately split into several groups and set off to kill Tutsis at Rwankeri. GOA told the court that on their way to Rwankeri, Iyamuremye, one of his compatriots "cut off the breast of a Tutsi girl called Nyiraburanga. After cutting off her breast, he licked the blade of his machete". He also said that two other members of his group; one Gafobo and one Ntezi, had raped a Tutsi girl and later "stuck poles through her ribs and her genital areas". The case is before Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. GG/JC/MBR/FH (KJ0723e)