Arusha, May 6, 2002 (FH) - Former Rwandan minister and genocide suspect Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda witnessed as victims were selected at a roadblock by attacking militiamen but did nothing about it a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday. The twenty-fifth prosecution witness known as "GKL" for protection of identity however failed to recognise Kamuhanda in court, whom he said he had recognised from approximately 20 metres away during the 1994 events in Rwanda.

2 min 9Approximate reading time

GKL said he saw Kamuhanda at a roadblock while he and others were fleeing towards Gikomero. "I am not in a position to point him out it has been a long time and he may have changed," the witness said when asked by the prosecutor whether he could identify the accused. Kamuhanda is charged with nine counts including genocide, complicity in genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including rape and murder. These crimes were allegedly committed in his native Gikomero commune (Kigali province, central Rwanda). He has denied all charges. He was minister of higher education from May 25th, 1994. But the witness claimed Kamuhanda was a minister in 1992. GKL told the court that while in a school in Gikomero fellow students, natives of this area, had pointed out Kamuhanda to him as "a minister," and that is why later during the 1994 events he was able to recognise him. The witness said at the roadblock in a place called Kayanga, people exclaimed that Kamuhanda was also there and he recognised him as the same "minister" he used to see at the Gishaka communal office with the local mayor. Prosecutor Marks Moore of Ireland questioned GKL in his chief testimony. GKL said that Interahamwe (militia) were pulling from the queue, people who had been made to line up at the roadblock. "People were struggling to get back," he said. He added that though he did not personally witness these people being killed, "I would like to say I never saw those people again. "Kamuhanda's defence counsel Aicha Conde of Guinea drew out contradictions in the witness's statement including the claim that the accused was a minister in 1992. Conde also questioned contradictions on details that the accused had given on the route through which he had fled as per his written statement and what he had testified orally in court. GKL told the court that he fled to the Gishaka Parish and sought refuge inside this church together with others. He said he also saw Kamuhanda at the Gishaka Parish and that an attack was launched against the refugees in it on April 10th and 11th, 1994. "I doubt the veracity because no massacres were committed on the 10th and 11th (April) at the Parish and because Kamuhanda never set foot there," Conde said. But witness GKL replied: "I was there when these events took place but Kamuhanda's advocate was not there so what I am saying here is the truth. "The trial resumed after being adjourned in February after the testimony of 24 prosecution witnesses. The Chamber hearing this case is also hearing two alternate trials that of former mayor of Mukingo (Ruhengeri province, north west Rwanda) Juvénal Kajelijeli and that of six persons accused of crimes in Butare (south of Rwanda). Kamuhanda's trial continues on Tuesday morning before ICTR's Trial Chamber Two composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Mantanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. SW/FH (KH-0506e)