Arusha, July 18, 2001 (FH) - A mother testifying on her daughter's rape collapsed in court on Wednesday afternoon at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Protection measures for the witness, whose identity is supposed to be hidden from the public, were forgotten as she was wheeled out of the Tribunal front entrance in a wheelchair, with her face uncovered.

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The witness had complained several times that she was feeling unwell and had been sobbing throughout most of her testimony. She had been testifying since morning on the rape of her 15-year-old daughter by a gang of militias and the killing of her husband and their elder son during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The court had allowed her to take several breaks earlier in the day when she showed distress. The mother is the seventh prosecution witness in the genocide trial of former mayor of Mukingo (northwest Rwanda) Juvénal Kajelijeli. She is a Tutsi, referred to only as "GDO" to protect her identity. GDO said earlier that Kajelijeli had ordered and presided over the rape of her daughter andhad also been responsible for the death of her husband and her son. "She screamed and I looked at her surrounded by Interahamwe (a militia attached to the then ruling party MRND), and one of them was on her," GDO told the court before bursting into tears. "They were as many as ants. Kajelijeli was standing by my daughter. "The witness said that the rape took place on a road near her residence. She said she watched the rape from a nearby bush where she had taken cover after hearing her daughter scream. "I couldn't hold it any longer. I felt the motherly sympathy and rose up from the bush to see what was happening," GDO said. "They saw me. They called me, undressed me and beat me up. They left me for dead," she added. "Long after the departure of the Interahamwe, when I had regained my consciousness, I saw my daughter lying down with her mouth open and her legs spread apart," she said. "The child (GDO's younger son, who survived) was next to the blood-soaked dead body. The blood flowed from the sexual organ of my daughter," she said amid tears. An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during the genocide in Rwanda. Kajelijeli is charged with eleven counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. 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 (KJ0718e)