Arusha, July 17, 2001 (FH) - A witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday that he had at the peak of the 1994 genocide fruitlessly advised former mayor Juvenal Kajelijeli to stop killing civilians. Kajelijeli was mayor of Mukingo commune, in the northwest Rwandan region of Ruhengeri during the genocide.

1 min 8Approximate reading time

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. "When I met him, he was carrying a gun," the 68-year-old Hutu man only identified as GBH told the court. " I asked him to stop killing. I told him that too many people had died and now it was time to bury the dead. He instead told me that it was necessary to continue hunting for the survivors. " GBH said that after this, Kajelijeli continued on his way to look for a Tutsi woman called Rachel. GBH also told the court that his own son had participated in the genocide together with Kajelijeli. "I tried to stop him from doing it but since he was young and stronger than me, he went on. He joined Kajelijeli and his friends and they went killing," he said. Kajelijeli's defence counsel Lennox Hinds of the US suggested to GBH that he had been motivated to come and testify against Kajelijeli because of an argument with him in 1994 over a piece of land. GBH denied this and said that Kajelijeli's crimes were committed in broad daylight before all inhabitants of Mukingo. "Any other person can come here and tell you the same story, " he said. 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 (KJ0717e)