Arusha, October 15th, 2002 (FH) - Genocide suspect and former Rwandan minister of Information, Eliézer Niyitegeka, instructed militias to insert a branch of wood into the genitals of a dead ethnic Tutsi woman during the 1994 genocide, the last prosecution witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. The witness, only identified as 'KJ' to protect his identity from the public was testifying at the resumption of the trial that has been in recess since late August.

1 min 2Approximate reading time

He is the last of twelve witnesses called by the prosecution. KJ testified that before being "dehumanised", the woman, together with another man, had been shot at in their car. "The car rolled over. (…) Eliezer ordered him (the militiaman) to get a branch of wood and thrust it into the genitals of this woman”. The event, said the witness, took place in the grounds of a technical college in the West Rwanda province of Kibuye. Niyitegeka faces six charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for massacres committed in Bisesero (Kibuye province, west of Rwanda) and elsewhere in the country between April and July 1994. He allegedly ordered massacres of civilians and personally took part in attacks against Tutsi. Niyitegeka has pleaded not guilty to the charges. This trial, which started on June 17th, is before ICTR's Trial Chamber One composed of judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Andresia Vaz of Senegal. The trial is taking place concurrently with the media trial. The system that is expected to last three weeks is a trial run for the performance of ad litem judges due early next year. GG/FH(NI-1015e)