Arusha, March 13, 2002 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday directed a prosecution witness to respond to questions from defence lawyers for six individuals accused of genocide crimes in Butare (south of Rwanda), after he had been refusing to do so. Presiding Judge, William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania, told the witness that the Chamber was following the questions of the defence counsel attentively.

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"If the questions are not pertinent, it is the Chamber that will determine that," he said. The Chamber explained to the witness, known as "FAM" for protection of his identity, that he would be also questioned about statements he had made in Rwanda. FAM, the seventh prosecution witness, is a detainee in Rwanda awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to genocide charges before the Rwandan authorities. FAM is testifying in the trial involving the biggest number of people appearing jointly before the ICTR, known as the Butare Trial. It groups former Minister for Family Affairs and Gender Issues Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, along with former Butare prefects Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo. The others are former mayors, Joseph Kanyabashi of Ngoma and Elie Ndayambaje of Muganza. All have denied committing genocide crimes in Butare in 1994. Judge Sekule urged FAM to listen to the questions properly, and give answers as requested. He added that it was the responses FAM provided to both prosecution and defence lawyers, which will allow the Chamber to discern the truth. FAM, who started responding to cross-questioning by defence last Wednesday, often refused to answer to certain questions regarding his statements to the Rwandan authorities. At one point, FAM told the court that he came to testify on the statements he made to the Tribunal, notably about activities of former mayor Kanyabashi and former prefect Nteziryayo. The witness said that he was not being disrespectful but did not want to be questioned any further about his case in Rwanda, and would not reply to questions on this issue any more. FAM was reacting to cross-questioning by Kanyabashi's lawyer Canadian, Michel Marchand. Marchand was concerned about contradictions between FAM's statement to the Rwandan justice and his testimony before the court. FAM's testimony provoked a debate between the prosecution and defence as prosecution felt defence was taking too long in its cross-questioning. Prosecutor Jonathan Moses of New Zealand argued that the defence were asking questions beyond FAM's evidence in chief. But defence argued that their questions were in order. They also argued that witnesses who had pleaded guilty (to genocide crimes) were special witnesses who need thorough questioning to establish their credibility. The Chamber said while it would not limit the defence in their cross-questioning time, they ought to dwell on pertinent questions. Cross-questioning of FAM continued on Wednesday. This case is before Trial Chamber Two composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). BN/SW/JA/FH (BT-0313e)