Arusha, May 7, 2002 (FH) - Genocide suspect and Seventh Day Adventist pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana on Tuesday denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) all allegations that he participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Pastor Ntakirutimana has since Monday been testifying in his and his son Gerard Ntakirutimana's defence.

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"I can't even kill a chicken", said the 78-year-old pastor who is jointly on trial with his son Gerard Ntakirutimana. "I have always respected God's law. God is my witness", he added. 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, 45 was a medical doctor at the infirmary which lay in the same complex. The prosecutor, among other accusations, alleges that the two planned and presided over killings of about 6,000 Tutsi refugees in the Mugonero complex during the genocide. An estimated 1,000,000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 genocide according to an official census by the government of Rwanda. Pastor Ntakirutimana told the court that he hadn't had the means to protect Tutsi refugees at Mugonero complex. He said that he had himself fled Mugonero early in the morning of April 16th, 1994 after realising that the area wasn't safe. The killings in Mugonero took place on April 16th, 1994. Pastor Ntakirutimana said he only came back to Mugonero about two weeks after the killings. The court has received a copy of a letter written by six Tutsi Seventh Day Adventist pastors the night before the killings in Mugonero requesting Pastor Ntakirutimana to intervene and speak to the mayor to save their lives. Asked by defence counsel Ramsey Clark of the US whether, on his return to Mugonero two weeks after the killings, he and his church had tried to find out what had happened to the six pastors and other members of the church, Pastor Ntakirutimana responded; "I found that in my church, the mother church, there were very few people. I was told that there were also very few people in the other church"Prosecutor Charles Phillips of Nigeria and the UK told the court that pastor Ntakirutimana wasn't in any danger and should have at least sheltered a few Tutsi colleagues. "Kajongi was your treasurer, why didn't you at least hide him and his wife in your house", Phillips asked pastor Ntakirutimana. "It was his(Kajongi) duty to tell me that they were coming to my place", said pastor Ntakirutimana. "I wouldn't have chased him", he added. The court said on Tuesday it was going to deliberate on a motion filed by the defence to have a defence witness that testified last week relocated to another country. Clark told the court that following the prosecutor's allegation that the witness was a fugitive from justice in Rwanda wanted for genocide and multiple rapes, the witness would be in danger if he returned to his country of residence. Clark suggested that despite the fact that the witness was a protected witness whose identity was hidden from the public, people from where the witness came from knew about his coming to testify and also heard reports of the criminal allegations leveled against him last week. The witness was due to be returned to his country of residence on Wednesday. Pastor Ntakirutimana will continue to testify on Wednesday 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(NK-0507e)