Arusha, October 22nd, 2002 (FH) - The fifteenth prosecution witness in the so -called 'Butare Trial,' continued testimony with cross-questioning by the defence before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Tuesday. The witness named "SU" for protection of identity and a genocide survivor from Butare (South Rwanda) has been in the witness stand since the trial resumed on Monday October 14.

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She sought refuge with hundreds of Tutsis at the Butare Prefecture office in May 1994 during the genocide that rocked the country. She testified in closed session on Monday and most part of Tuesday. 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 are accused of perpetrating genocide at the Butare Province. The witness recounted during cross-examination by Nsabimana's co-counsel Charles Tchakounte Patie, how the Tutsis were mistreated while at the Prefecture offices. She accused Nsabimana of denying them access to water and the toilets within the office. " The prefect did nothing to respect and defend the rights of the people", she said. "SU" said the Tutsis had gone to the prefecture for protection but Nsabimana did not take action and regarded them as "dirt". " We went to the prefecture to see Nsabimana who was like a parent to us for protection," she said. She said the Tutsis were living in miserable conditions at prefecture and were not allowed to spend the night inside the offices. They were prohibited from sheltering at the veranda when it was raining while the Interahamwe would spend the nights there. The witness testified that the Interahamwe took away the food, which the Rwandese Red Cross Organisation had distributed, to the victims at the prefecture on a day she did not specify. The victims, she said, had no food and were forced to collect remnants from a public refuse-dumping site, which they would cook and eat from cooking pots or plastic bags. But the witness agreed with Tchakounte that Nsabimana, provided gendarmes to guard the Tutsis after they complained to him. She did not state exactlywhen they were given the security. Nsabimana availed the security after three women went to present their problems on behalf of the Tutsis who had camped at the prefecture. The cross examination of “SU” continues on Wednesday. This trial is before ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, composed of judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and WinstonChurchil Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. PJ/FH (BT-1022e)