Arusha, November 6th, 2002 (FH), The so-called ‘Cyangugu’ trial was adjourned on Wednesday until 20 January 2003, during the defence of the former commandant of Karambo camp in the Cyangugu region (south west Rwanda), Samuel Imanishimwe. The adjournment was announced at the end of the questioning of the 20th defence witness, known as ‘PBA’ to protect his identity.

1 min 54Approximate reading time

The witness has given evidence on behalf of the accused since Tuesday in front of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). ‘PBA’ had supported the defence of alibi, which was first suggested on 15 October, saying that the accused had been at a security meeting in Bukavu (in former Zaire) on 12 April 1994. It was the witness ‘PKA’, an officer with the former Rwandan Armed Forces, attached to the police station of Cyangugu during the events, who had for the first time mentioned the holding of this meeting. “It was the Tuesday which followed the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana [6 April 1994]” PBA explained at length. PBA clarified that an officer of the gendarme had accompanied Imanishimwe, and that he himself was also part of the convoy, because he had to go shopping in Bukavu, as usual, for the family of the accused. “We had arrived at Bukavu around 0930 in the morning and returned to Cyangugu at 1700,” he said. The prosecution alleges, “on or around 11April 1994, some refugees were arrested and taken to the military camp of Cyangugu in front of Samuel Imanishimwe, who then gave orders for their execution. ” The defence maintains for its part that there were never any arrests tortures or executions of civilians in the camp when their client was in charge between April and July 1994. Imanishimwe is jointly accused with the former prefect of Cyangugu, Emmanuel Bagambiki, and the former minister of transport and communications under the interim government, André Ntagerura. They have all pleaded not guilty to the accusations of a massacre of Tutsis during the region between April and July 1994. The trial restarted on September 30th. The chamber hoped that the defence of Imanishimwe would finish its case at the end of January 2003, given the need to save judicial time and “given the fact that the mandate of these judges expires next May”. The accused began his defence on 3 October. He is represented by Cameroonian lawyer Marie-Louise Mbida, assisted by Jean Pierre Fofé of Congo in the trial, which began on 18 September 2000. After Imanishimwe, it will be Bagambiki’s turn to finally present his case, Ntagerura having already closed his. The lawyer for the ex-prefect, Belgian Vincent Lurquin, has indicated that he intends to bring 31 witnesses to testify in this case. The trial of the Cyangugu group is taking place before the third trial Chamber of the ICTR, presided over by Judge George Lloyd Williams of StKitts and Nevis, and including Judge Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. The same court will begin hearing an alternate trial from 18 November. The ‘Military’ trial groups four former Rwandan army officers who are accused of masterminding the genocide in 1994. GA/CE/JA/FH (CY-1106a)