Arusha, April 17, 2002 (FH) - Seventh Day Adventist Pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana and his son Gerard Ntakirutimana never invited ethnic Tutsi refugees to take refugee in a church complex from where they were to be killed, a witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday and Wednesday. The two are jointly on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity in connection with the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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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. Gerard, 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 one million Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 genocide according to an official census by the government of Rwanda. "The refugees came on their own volition", said the fourteenth defence witness only identified as "Witness 31" to protect his identity. The prosecution alleges that the Ntakirutimanas lured Tutsis fleeing from killings into Mugonero complex and later brought in militias and soldiers to kill them. Witness 31 told the court that he had been a nurse at Mugonero hospital. The witness further said that on April 16th, 1994, the day that the killings at Mugonero complex took place, Pastor Ntakirutimana and his son had taken refugee in nearby Gishyita commune. "They never left the Gishyita commune offices that day", said the witness. Witness 31 also said that Doctor Ntakirutimana had never discriminated against Tutsi patients or said "anything that would indicate discrimination against people of Tutsi origin". The prosecution says that Doctor Ntakirutimana refused to treat and sent away Tutsi refugees that had been wounded from militia attacks. 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. The trial was adjourned until next Monday, because the next witnesses were not available for the time being. GG/FH(NT-0417e)