Arusha, October 15th, 2002 (FH). A prosecution witness in the so-called Butare trial of six Rwanda genocide suspects before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Tuesday refused to answer questions by the defence prompting a presiding judge to intervene and direct her to respond to the questions clearly and appropriately.

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Judge William Sekule presiding Chamber Two of the ICTR, hearing the Butare trial directed the 15th prosecution witness named "SU" to keenly listen to questions from Nicole Bergevin, the lead counsel for Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Rwanda Minister for family Affairs and Gender Issues who was cross-examining her. Nyiramasuhuko is being tried jointly with her son and alleged former militia leader Arsène Ntahobali, former mayor of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi, former mayor of Muganza Elie Ndayambaje and two former prefects of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo. Nicole Bergevin asked Judge Sekule to intervene after the witness refused to say whether she knew the people who had recorded statements from her in Butare in 1996. "She should remain cool, relaxed and give her account calmly. She should answer appropriately as she understands so that we move fast, " Judge Sekule said. But the witness said in response to the Judge Sekule's remarks, "I should be asked questions politely because I can change. Do not harass and confuse me. "The judge had to remind "SU" three times that she was required to answer questions by Bergevin. At one point, the witness told the chamber," I just wish you would stop pouring salt on my wounds and I wish we could get on slowly". The so-called Butare trial is not only the biggest joint trial currently before the ICTR, but the accused Nyiramasuhuko, is the first woman to be charged with genocide before an international court and the first to be charged with rape. All six accused are charged with committing genocide in the Butare region of southern Rwanda in 1994. Nyiramasuhuko was Minister of Family Affairs and Gender Issues at the time of the 1994 genocide, which left some 1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutusdead, according to an official census from the government in Kigali. She is charged with rape as well as genocide for allegedly using her position of influence to incite sexual violence against Tutsi girls and women. The witness told the chamber in her chief testimony on Monday that Nyimarasuhuko ordered the Interahamwe to rape and kill young Tutsi women and girls who had taken refuge at a government office in Butare. Bergevin is expected to continue with the cross-examination on Wednesday. The ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, is composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) Winston Churchhill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). PJ/FH (BT-1015e)