Arusha, March 7, 2002 (FH) - Former Rwandan Mayor of Ngoma in Butare province, Joseph Kanyabashi, allegedly supervised massacres of Tutsis according to the seventh prosecution witness testifying on Wednesday in the 'Butare' trial which groups six persons accused of crimes committed in the region, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The witness identified only as "FAM", to protect his identity, told the court the massacres were committed at a site called Kabakobwa.

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FAM is in detention in Rwanda awaiting sentencing, after pleading guilty to charges of genocide before the Rwandan courts. "Kanyabashi was present at Kabakobwa," the witness said. "He was in a vehicle nearby observing how the people were being massacred and how those attempting to flee were driven back with machetes and other traditional weapons. "The case known as the Butare Trial groups the biggest number of people appearing jointly before the ICTR. They are former Minister for Family Affairs and Gender Issues Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, former Butare prefects Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo. The others are former mayors, Elie Ndayambaje of Muganza and Joseph Kanyabashi of Ngoma. Witness FAM said that Kanyabashi told other assailants in his company to head for Kabakobwa where the witness estimated about two thousand and five hundred Tutsis were gathered. "We arrived, the military and the police encircled them and told us to attack them with traditional weapons. But because those attacked resisted, within two minutes, the military and the police fired at the crowd," witness FAM said. He told the court that Kanyabashi ordered them to return to Kabakobwa the next day "to finish the survivors". This part of his testimony was strongly objected to by the defence which maintained that prosecution had introduced some factors which were not in the indictment against the accused. According to Kanyabashi's Canadian advocate, Michel Marchand, the indictment refers only to a single attack at Kabakobwa on Friday April 22nd, 1994 but the witness was talking of another attack on April 23rd. The witness also said that the former mayor had ordered the erection of road blocks to identify Tutsis. FAM continues his testimony on Thursday. The case is before Trial Chamber Two composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). The Chamber is also hearing alternately the case of former Mukingo Mayor Juvénal Kajejeli, and that of former Minister forHigher Education Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda. BN/SW/JA/FH (BT-0307e)