Arusha, October 14th, 2002 (FH)- Former Rwanda Minister for Family Affairs and Gender Issues and genocide suspect Pauline Nyiramasuhuko instructed the Interahamwe to rape and kill young Tutsi women and girls who had sought refuge at a government office in Butare, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, during the so-called Butare trial which resumed on Monday. The trial was adjourned on June 27 due to lack of prosecution witnesses.

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The trial resumed with the testimony of a prosecution witness dubbed "SU" to protect her identity. She testified mainly against Nyiramasuhuko. "She said the Tutsi women refugees should be raped by Hutu men because they had previously refused to marry them. After she arrived, she called the Interehamwe who were in the office and asked them to select young Tutsi women and girls," the witness told the ICTR,s Trial Chamber Two. The fomer Minister is the first woman to be charged in an international court, and the first woman to be charged with rape and genocide. "SU", the 15th prosecution witness, said the former Minister showed the Interahamwe the refugees to take away. Some were raped, others were beaten and those loaded in a truck were taken and killed. None of them came back, the witness said. "Hutus were killing Tutsis", she told the court. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko is in a joint trial with her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobari, former Butare prefects Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo and former mayors of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi and Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje. "SU", a Tutsi who sought refuge at the Butare Prefecture offices on May 28th 1994, said some of the refugees were ferried into a place called IRST where they were killed and buried in a mass grave. They were also loaded into a vehicle under the supervision of Nyiramasuhuko. She accompanied them with Interhamwe militiamen armed with machetes, grenades and nail-studded clubs. The truck made two trips and came back empty. "Those who refused to board the vehicle were slit on the throats". The witness recalled that a woman who was carrying twins was cut on the neck with a machete when she resisted boarding the vehicle and her body loaded into the truck. She said Nyiramashuko who visited the prefecture offices several times and held meetings with other government officials spoke to the Interahamwe in a loud and agitated voice. She was in military uniform and wore gloves. "SU" said she moved to Butare prefecture offices after her husband and five children were killed. Her three-year-old child was stabbed to death on her back. She was also wounded on the shoulders, ribs and forehead. The witness who was led in her chief evidence by prosecutor Gregory Townsend of America said she spent a month at the prefecture offices where about 600 refugees had camped but each day some of them were killed. The Butare trial has had to be adjourned a number of times due to lack of witnesses. The issue took a turn for the worse when two key groups of genocide survivors in Rwanda - IBUKA an umbrella organisation for survivors' associations and AVEGA an association of genocide widows - declared their withdrawal of cooperation with the Tribunal citing the 'harassment of witnesses' among other grievances. IBUKA made a declaration in January and recently reiterated its stand. The witness continues with “SU”’s testimony on Tuesday before ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). PJ/FH (BT-1014e)