Arusha, March 16, 2002 (FH) - Former Transport Minister Andre Ntagerura did not provide Interahamwe (militia) and armed youths with public buses during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Thursday. The twentieth defence witness for Ntagerura was testifying when the case resumed after adjournment on Tuesday.

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The Cyangugu trial groups former Transport Minister Ntagerura, former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki and former commander of the Karambo military barracks in Cyangugu, Samuel Imanishimwe. Prosecution maintains that all three are guilty of massacres of Tutsis in Cyangugu in1994. They have pleaded not guilty. The witness dubbed "CHD" for protection of identity and who testified partly in camera, said that she was able to observe that political parties made rental services of some of the public buses. She said that there were three notable political parties. Another witness who testified earlier in the case had also stated that three parties namely, MRND, MDR and PSD had hired the ONATRACOM buses and that at the time, they put the party emblems on the buses. Witness CHD said that she had never heard that Ntagerura as Minister had put ONATRACOM (public buses) at the disposal of armed youths or militia. Ntagerura was the Minister of Transport and Communications in the interim government of 1994. He is said to have allowed or authorised the use of government vehicles, specifically buses for the transportation of [Interahamwe] militia, as well as for the transportation of arms and ammunitions to Cyangugu prefecture. During questioning by Ntagerura's lead counsel Canadian Benoit Henry CHD said in her chief testimony that she also did not hear of Ntagerura providing the buses for use by his political party, MRND. Witness CHD completed her testimony after cross-questioning by the prosecution. Another witness known only as "T3H" for protection of identity started his chief testimony and is expected to continue on Friday morning. The Cyangugu trial resumed on Tuesday after being adjourned on March 28th. But it was adjourned on the same day after the testimony of one defence witness, to allow for the arrival in Arusha of witnesses CHD and T3H. The Trial Chamber hearing this case is also hearing alternately, the trial of former Bicumbi (in Kigali rural province, central Rwanda) mayor Laurent Semanza. The case is before ICTR's Trial Chamber Three, composed of judges Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/FH (CY-0516e)