Arusha, February 5, 2002 (FH) - The son of genocide suspect and Adventist pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana on Tuesday began his testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Jerome Nataki is the second defence witness in the trial of his father and his brother, medicaldoctor Gerard Ntakirutimana.

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At the time of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, Elizaphan, 77, was pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist church mission at Mugonero in Kibuye. Gerald, 44, was a medical doctor at the infirmary which lay in the same complex. The two are charged with five counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide. "My father was dedicated to saving souls as my brother was dedicated to saving lives", Nataki (changed his name from Ntakirutimana after acquiring US citizenship) told the court. Nataki lived in Rwanda until July, 1994, when he fled to Zambia and then to the US. The Ntakirutimanas are accused of luring Tutsis to take refugee in the Mugonero church complex and later ferrying in militias and soldiers to kill the refugees. According to the Prosecutor, an estimated 5,000 Tutsis were killed in the complex. Nataki testified that neither his father nor his brother had ever owned a gun, held a gun, travelled in the company of militias or attended a political meeting of any kind. The prosecutor contends that Elizaphan and Gerard personally led attacks and killed Tutsis using their own guns. Nataki told the court that his father's daily routine during the genocide was going to his office during weekdays and "spreading the word of God" on Saturdays. Asked about his brother's routine during the genocide, Nataki broke down in tears before answering: " He is one of my brothers with whom I spent a lot of time. He is a guy who was friendly to everyone. " Nataki said that Gerald had spent his days taking care of patients at Mugonero hospital. Before Nataki's testimony, ex-Rwandan Prime Minister, Faustin Twagiramungu concluded his testimony. The defence is scheduled to present 32 more witnesses. The case is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, composed of judges Erik Mose of Norway (presiding), Navanethem Pillay of South Africa and AndrésiaVaz of Senegal. GG/JC/FH (NK-0205e)