Arusha, August 14, 2002 (FH) - Ex-Rwandan minister of information and genocide suspect, Eliézer Niyitegeka, shot at a crowd of ethnic Tutsi refugees in the West Rwanda region of Kibuye region during the 1994 genocide, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) on Wednesday. Witness 'GGY', named as such to protect his identity said that Niyitegeka had shot at the refugees on Muyira hill in Kibuye.

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"He was accompanied by militias wielding machetes, nail studded clubs and guns", witness GGY told court. The witness said that most of the refugees were killed by the militias. He said the refugees had taken refugee in the hills after being attacked in their homes by militias. The witness said he had been a survivor of the attack. Niyitegeka,50, is on trial for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in connection with killings in the Bisesero hills in the West Rwanda region of Kibuye. An estimated One million ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 genocide according to an official census by the government of Rwanda. Co-counsel for Niyitegeka, Feargal Kavanagh, of Ireland challenged the witness' credibility saying that he had only mentioned his client earlier this year despite testifying on events in Bisesero in a different trial before the ICTR last year. Witness GGY testified in the genocide trial of pastor, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, and his son medical doctor, Gerard Ntakirutimana, in October 2002. "You made several statements for that trial in which you never mentioned Niyitegeka" said Kavanagh "Why is it that it is only after ICTR investigators contacted you about Niyitegeka that you placed him in the Bisesero events?", asked Kavanagh. "I know a lot about different people but I only answer to what I'm asked", responded the witness. Witness GGY is the fourth prosecution witness. Eleven more are scheduled to testify for the prosecution. The Niyitegeka trial is being held before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, comprising Judges Navanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway and Andresia Vaz of Senegal. GG/DO/FH (NI-0814e)