Arusha, April 10, 2002 (FH) - The wife of Seventh Day Adventist pastor and genocide suspect Elizaphan Ntakirutimana told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday that her husband and her son Gerard, who jointly charged with his father, "never in any way" participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. "Did you ever see or hear of Pastor or Gerard carrying weapons of any sort?" asked Pastor Ntakirutimana's defence counsel, Ramsey Clark of the US.

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" No, never", answered Mrs. Ntakirutimana. At the time of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Elizaphan Ntakirutimana , 77 was pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist church mission at Mugonero in Kibuye province western Rwanda. He is jointly charged with his son Gerard Ntakirutimana, 44. Gerard was a medical doctor at the infirmary which lay in the same church complex. The prosecutor alleges that the two planned and presided over killings of about 5,000 Tutsi refugees in the Mugonero complex during the genocide. An estimated 1 million Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed in the 1994 genocide according to an official survey by the government of Rwanda. The trial of the Ntakirutimanas reopened on Wednesday after it was adjourned in mid February to give room to another trial taking place alternately in the same chamber. Dressed in a navy blue suit and a white top, the calm but some times nervous looking lady told the court that her whole family had left Mugonero to take refuge in Gishyita commune very early in the morning on April 16th, 1994. The prosecutor says that the killings in Mugonero complex took place on April 16th, 1994. Mrs. Ntakirutimana said that her husband, between the shooting down of President Juvénal Habyarimana's plane on April 6th that sparked off the genocide, and their fleeing to Gishyita, "went on with his routine office work". She denied prosecution allegations that her husband and son had been involved in militia activities during that period. Mrs. Ntakirutimana continues to testify 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/JA/FH(NK-0410e)