Arusha, March 26, 2002 (FH) - Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, son and co-accused of ex-Minister for Family Affairs and Gender Issues Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, allegedly led massacres in certain sites, according to a prosecution witness who started his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) last Wednesday. Ntahobali is charged jointly with his mother, Nyiramasuhuko, in the Butare trial, which groups six people charged with genocide crimes allegedly committed in Butare province, south of Rwanda.

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The others are former prefects Alphonse Nteziyrayo and Sylvain Nsabimana and former mayors, Joseph Kanyabashi of Ngoma and Elie Ndayambaje of Muganza. All have denied committing genocide crimes in Butare in 1994. The ninth prosecution witness dubbed "QCB" for protection of identity like two others who testified before him, is a detainee awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to genocide crimes before the Rwandan authorities. "I identified Shalom, he was the one leading the killers," said QCB, citing about two hundred Tutsis whom he claimed were killed at the Institute of Scientific Research and Technology (Institut de recherche scientifique et technologique - IRST) in Butare and the university laboratory (universitaire de Butare). The witness told the court that the killers had carried on board a vehicle, Tutsis who had been gathered at a roadblock mounted in front of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko's house, and others who had been arrested at the university's campus. QCB said that behind this vehicle was another, "a Peugeot by model, driven by Shalom. "Witness QCB, also alleged that Ntahobali had given orders for the killing of one Leopold Ruvurajabo at a roadblock erected in front of his parents house, on April 21st, 1994, before the massacre at the (IRST) Institute of Scientific Research and Technology. According to QCB, Leopold arrived at the roadblock and was asked for his identity card; on producing it, he was asked to turn back and to a nearby school, but he refused. The witness said that the Interahamwe (militia) told Ntahobali that he (Leopold) had refused to head back and asked what to do. QCB told the court that Ntahobali said: "If he has refused, kill him there is no other alternative!" The court heard that Leopold was stabbed to death with a knife and thrown by the roadside. The witness also said the accused (Ntahobali) would be found at the front of their house with a kalashnikov gun slang on his shoulder and with other weapons. QCB said that Tutsis arrested at the roadblock were assembled in a school belonging to the Anglican church of Rwanda and later driven to massacre sites under the direction of Ntahobali. The witness cited thirteen roadblocks, within Butare, whose locations he specified with the help of a map of Butare that he said he drew himself, while in Arusha awaiting his turn to testify in court. During his testimony, the witness also claimed that he saw on April 21st, 1994, former Ngoma mayor Kanyabashi, one of the other accused in the Butare case. QCB further said he saw Col. Tharcisse Muvunyi at Rango market. Col. Muvunyi is awaiting his trial at the ICTR, and is accused of having ordered the populace to chase away people taking refuge at Kakanyamanza in Tumba sector, while Kanyabashi allegedly asked that they be driven to Kabakobwa where they would be guarded until the military arrived to massacre them. According to QCB, the military did arrive the following day, and proceeded to kill about two thousand Tutsis. Prosecutor, Gregory Townsend of USA, questioned witness QCB in his principal testimony. This case continues before Trial Chamber Two composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar of and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. BN/SW/FH (BT-0326e)