Arusha, May 8, 2002 (FH) - Genocide suspect and medical doctor, Gerard Ntakirutimana, began testifying in his own defence at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday. Gerard began his testimony shortly after his father and co-accused, Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana concluded his testimony.

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At the time of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, 78 was pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist church mission at Mugonero in Kibuye. Gerald Ntakirutimana, 44 was a medical doctor at the infirmary which lay in the same complex. The prosecutor, among other accusations, alleges that the two lured persecuted Tutsis to take refugee at Mugonero time before bringing in militias to kill them. The prosecution estimates that 6,000 Tutsis were killed in the attack on Mugonero complex. An estimated one million Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 genocide according to an official census by the government of Rwanda. Defence counsel for Gerard Ntakirutimana David Jacobs of Canada dwelt on questions regarding Gerard Ntakirutimana's life prior to the genocide. "We want to show the court that with the shape of life that he lived, he could not have committed the crimes alleged by the prosecution", Jacobs told the court. Gerard Ntakirutimana will continue his testimony on Thursday morning. Earlier on, pastor Ntakirutimana reiterated that he "did not participate in any of the acts. Not at all". Asked by judge Naventhem Pillay what he thought of some of his former church folk, "followers of God like you(him)" that have testified against him, pastor Ntakirutimana said that they were liars. "Even among Jesus' disciples, Judas betrayed his master", said pastor Ntakirutimana. This trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of judges Erik Mose of Norway (presiding), Navanethem Pillay of South Africa and judge Andrésia Vaz of Senegal. GG/FH(NT-0507e)