Arusha, April 22, 2003 (FH) - The Trial attorney of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday complained before Trial chamber Two that genocide suspect and former Mayor of Mukingo commune in Ruhengeri prefecture (Northwest Rwanda), Juvenal Kajelijeli deliberately avoided to answer her questions. The attorney, Ifeona Ojemini of Nigeria was on her third day of crossexamining the suspect.

1 min 24Approximate reading time

Kajelijeli has been testifying in his own defence since April 14th. He is accused of planning, instigating and participating actively in the April July 1994 massacres in Mukingo and the neighbouring Nkuli communes. "The witness is avoiding my question," complained Ojemini who wanted to know from the accused if Tutsi properties including land were already declared as abandoned properties after Kajelijeli resumed his position as bourgmestre of Mukingo commune in mid June, 1994. The presiding judge of Trial Chamber Two, William Sekule from Tanzania, also could not get a direct answer from the accused despite repeating the same question more than four times. "We take note of that," Judge Sekule told the prosecutor after the accused kept on avoiding to respond to the question directly. The Chamber was constantly compelled on Tuesday to remind the accused to answer the questions precisely as asked by the prosecution. "We would like to remind you that you are addressing the chamber …please answer the questions and we would not wish to repeat this again," Judge Sekule warned. Earlier, Kajelijeli denied several assertions made by the prosecutor including ordering Interahamwe (youth wing of the then MRND ruling party) militia group to rape and kill Tutsi women in Mukingo and Nkuli communes. During his defence, Kajelijeli at times accused the prosecution of fabricating several allegations against him using some prosecution witnesses from the Rwandan genocide survivors' associations IBUKA and AVEGA. The prosecutor resumed her cross questioning on Tuesday after the court was adjourned on April 17th for Easter break. She continues with it on Wednesday, and said she only needs to ask another three questions before completing it. Kajelijeli will then be reexamined by his defence counsel, Lennox Hinds of the United States. Judge Sekule is assisted in Trial Chamber Two by judges Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. NI/CE/FH (KJ'0422e)