Arusha, March 20, 2003 (FH) - The twenty third prosecution witness in the Butare trial urged the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday not to consider her three written statements which she gave to investigators and instead to “only take into account what I told the court on Wednesday”. The Butare trial groups six genocide suspects namely, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko former Minister for Family and Women's Affairs, Nyiramasuhuko's son Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, former Butare prefects Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo and former mayors of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi and Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje.

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The six are jointly accused of, among other things planning, supervising and fuelling massacres in Butare prefectureThe witness who was identified as QY to protect her identity was being crossexamined by Nyiramasuhuko's cocounsel, Guy Poupart of Canada regarding some contradictions between her written statement and oral testimony. QY gave ICTR investigators three different statements on 15th January 1997, 18th September 1997 and on 24th July 2000. On each occasion, Mr. Poupart identified some changes and contradictions regarding activities and the time frame of events at the time of the genocide. On one account, the cocounsel asked, “Madam witness are you denying that you made a statement saying, “After three days you left the hospital?” The prosecution witness denied. Mr. Poupart then read out the witnesses' written statement of 18th September, 1997, which showed she had indicated having left the hospital after three days on the orders of a Dr. Gatera who said “he did not want any snakes at the hospital”. After being challenged several times, QY told the court “It was difficult to remember the time; one night seemed like one month and two nights two months, We did not have watches, we could not tell what was going on due to the difficult conditions. ”She was also crossexamined regarding issues which appeared in her written statement only and not in her oral testimony. Mr. Poupart of Canada read for instance the statement of 15th January 1997 given by QY regarding the people who went into a mudcovered car. “The same night I saw a Daihatsu van. Interahamwe forced people into the van. People stepped in the car, intellectual people went into the van,” it read, whereas QY did not mention any “intellectuals” in her oral testimony. She told counsel Poupart there were only young men and women who were ordered to board into the carQY defended herself by saying, “You should understand, I didn't want to say too much. Yesterday I said young men and women were abducted, they could be intellectuals, I wasn't asked to specify race or occupations. ”The witness also said she was interviewed by many investigators for various information. She told Mr. Poupart, “You must remember that statements were taken at a time when people were traumatised. I said some words, which were omitted by the investigators. ”Apart from crossexamination of the witness, Trial Chamber II also considered omissions and submissions regarding prosecution witness FAP during the afternoon session. Mr. Duncan Mwanyumba of Kenya, who is the defense counsel for genocide suspect Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, informed the court that his client was unwell for some time. Prosecution attorney Shola Adeboyejo of Nigeria reminded the court that the chamber's session will end next week. The trial will resume on Monday. Trial Chamber II is composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho)SV/CE/FH (BU'2003e)