Arusha, November 8, 2001 (FH) - The third prosecution witness in theso-called "Butare trial" finally finished her testimony on Thursday beforethe International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), after being on thestand for more than two weeks. Protected witness "TA", victim of allegedrape by one of the defendants, was cross-questioned by all but one of thesix defence teams.

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The case groups former Minister of Women's Development PaulineNyiramasuhuko, her son and former militia leader Arsène Shalom Ntahobali,former mayor of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi, former mayor of Muganza ElieNdayambaje and two former prefects of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana andAlphonse Nteziryayo. All have pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide andcrimes against humanity for their alleged role in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Witness TA testified primarily against Ntahobali, whom she accused ofhaving raped her during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She also mentioned thenames of the accused Nyiramasuhuko and Nteziryayo. TA said thatNyiramasuhuko came often to the prefect's offices in Butare, accompanied byInterahamwe who attacked Tutsi refugees sheltering there. TA told the courtthat Nteziryayo did nothing to protect the Tutsi refugees. After one and a half days of testimony in chief, TA then had to withstandcross-questioning from all the defence teams except Ndayambaje's. She wasoften required to answer intimate questions in connection with the rapeallegations. This is the largest group trial currently before the ICTR. One of theProsecutor's arguments for joint trials is to speed up procedures and savemoney, as witnesses only have to be brought once from Rwanda. Observers saythis objective may be compromised, considering the amount of time thattestimonies are already taking in this case. The testimony of the first prosecution witness, ICTR investigator GandhiShukri, lasted two weeks. Prosecutors say they plan to bring a total of 103witnesses. The fourth prosecution witness in the case, dubbed "QJ" to protect hisidentity, began testifying on Thursday, mainly in closed session. He isexpected to testify against five of the six accused. This case is before Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of judgesWilliam Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Romaroson ofMadagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. BN/JC/DO/FH (BT1108e)