Arusha, August 13t, 2002 (FH) - Former Rwandan minister of information, Eliézer Niyitegeka ordered a band of ethnic Hutu militias retreating from a massacre site to continue and "finish off the Tutsis as quick as possible" during the 1994 genocide, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) on Tuesday. "These people had been killing all morning and were now leaving to go and rest when they met Eliézer", protected witness 'GHA' told the court.

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"Niyitegeka used his megaphone to call on these people to go back and finish off the Tutsis as soon as possible", he added. "They (the militias) came back", said the witness before adding that, " they killed many people and went back much later that particular day. There were bodies strewn all over the place. We became accustomed to the odour of bodies. " Witness GHA, named as such to protect his identity said the event had taken place some time in May, 1994. 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 contested witness GHA's testimony saying that the witness had, in seven interviews with ICTR investigators about events in Bisesero, mentioned Niyitegeka only once. "I know many things about what happened in my area but I can't remember them all the time", responded the witness. GHA told the court that the militias had been armed with guns, nail studded clubs, sharpened bamboo poles and machetes. The witness, who told court he was Tutsi, said that he had seen the events from a nearby bush where he was hiding. GHA is the third of fifteen witnesses scheduled to testify for the prosecution. He previously testified for the prosecution in the joint trial of Clement Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana in 1997. The prosecution had initially listed 16 witnesses but withdrew one on Tuesday. Prosecutor Ken Fleming of Australia said witness 'GGX' had been dropped to save time since most of his testimony was "based on hearsay. "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/FH (NI-0813e)