Arusha, October 31st, 2002 (FH) - Two former Rwanda political leaders and genocide suspects in the so called Butare trial organised military training of Hutu youths who were later dispatched to massacre the Tutsis, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Thursday. The 17th prosecution witness dubbed FAI to protect his identity from the public, said Ngoma Mayor Joseph Kanyabashi and Butare Prefect Sylvain Nsabimana addressed a meeting attended by several mayors at the Butare prefecture offices whose programme was to lay strategies on how the Tutsis would be exterminated.

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During the meeting, the witness said, Kanyabashi said that though the youths referred to as Ibisumizi who had been trained to assist the military were useful, there was need to extend the training to communes outside Butare. Kanyabashi further said the civilian Hutus had assisted the military to kill the Tutsis. The witness who is in prison in Rwanda awaiting trial on genocide, said Nsabimana welcomed Kanyabashi's idea and called on each mayor at the meeting to bring youths for training at the Ngoma Centre. He also provided fuel for vehicles which were used to transport the youths in the operations to search and kill Tutsis. Led in his chief evidence by Prosecutor Adesola Adeboyejo , FAI said the youths were trained at Ngoma Centre during the genocide but he could not give the precise date. The youths, about 60 of them, were taught how to use guns and on completion, they received guns so that they could go and help the army or the population kill Tutsis. The 'Butare Trial' groups former Minister for Family Affairs and Gender Issues Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Ntahobali, former Butare prefects Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo and former mayors of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi and Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje. They have all denied genocide crimes in Butare Province (South Rwanda) in 1994. The witness said Nteziryayo sent youths to his commune Huye, to assist the army kill Tutsis. He said Nsabimana had asked him during the meeting to seek a solution for the problem between the army and Tutsis at Huye. "Nteziryayo said he had trained youths at his disposal which he would send as soon as possible and that he would do it in a special way because Huye was his commune," the witness said. He added that on the day Nteziryayo was sworn in as the Butare Prefect, he promised to continue "taking care of Butare Region and search Tutsis whom he accused of being RPF accomplices. "Tutsi women killedOn the evening of Nteziryayo’s swearing in as a prefect, the witness said, a group of Tutsi women who had been seeking refuge behind the Butare Prefecture offices were killed. He said he was informed by a soldier at a roadblock that the women had been killed on orders of Nteziryayo. The witness said the soldier had a wound on one of his hands which was inflicted by one of the women. According to FAI, the soldier told him "Nteziryayo had handed over the women to them". He never saw again the women when he went back to the offices in the next morning. The witness continues with his testimony on Monday before ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, composed of Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Churchill Mantazima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramaroson of Madgascar. PJ/CE/FH (BT-1031e)