Arusha, March 13, 2003 (FH) - The twenty first prosecution witness in the socalled Butare trial alleged that Tutsi refugees who were forced to go and stay in Rango forest from Butare prefecture office during the 1994 massacres, were put in turns into sacks and then beaten severely by Interahamwe militiamen. The witness, a Tutsi woman dubbed FAP for security reasons, also told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that other refugees were forced to lie on their backs and beaten on the stomach.

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She said among the victims was a pregnant woman who ended up with miscarriage. FAP was being crossexamined by, Michel Marchand from Canada, lead counsel for Joseph Kanyabashi, former Mayor of Ngoma who is on trial with five other genocide suspects. Marchand has been the third defense counsel to cross question the witness since she started testifying on Tuesday. Other coaccused who were touched by FAP testimony include, former Minister for Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali and former prefect, Sylvain Nsabimana. The other former prefect who took over from Nsabimana, Alphonse Nteziryayo and former Mayor of Muganza commune, Elie Ndayambaje were not mentioned by this witness. Earlier, counsel Marchand had pointed out several contradictions between the oral and written statement made by the witness to the ICTR investigators on May 6, 1999. For instance while in her written statement she alleged that former prefect, Nteziryayo went with them to Rango forest, she denied this fact in her oral testimony. "I have no conflicts with Joseph Kanyabashi which could make me invent things and attribute them to him," said the witness in response to the suggestion made by counsel Marchand that whatever she testified against his client, was not witnessed by herself but rather was told by others. FAP among other things alleged that Kanyabashi told refugees at Rango forest that their fate would be known on July, 5, 1994 when the late Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana was scheduled to be buried. The witness interpreted this statement as meaning that the Tutsi refugees at Rango would be killed on that date. Witness FAP completed her testimony after being crossexamined by only three defense counsels. The trial continues on Monday. It is before Chamber II, presided over by Tanzanian Judge William Sekule, assisted by Judges Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. NI/CE/FH (BU'0313e)