Arusha, March 11, 2003 (FH) - The wife of the former prefect of Cyangugu, Emmanuel Bagambiki, on Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that even their family was not immune to suspicions that reigned prior and during the genocide. Mukandekezi Bernadette, told the Trial Chamber Three that hears the Cyangugu trial that they had received a cold welcome when her husband was transferred form Kigali Rural to Cyangugu in 1992, even though he originated from the region.

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She added that even the little power her husband had managed to muster waned at the beginning of the genocide. The former prefect's wife also told the court that their woes begun when ethnic killings erupted in Bugesera, Kigali Ngali in March 1993. Bagambiki was then the prefect of Kigali Ngali and had been named as one of those responsible for the violence. "It took time for people to be convinced of our innocence and to realize that the accusations had been made up by the opposition," Mukandekezi told the court. Mukandekezi, who now lives in Belgium as a refugee, is the 17th. witness called by Bagambiki's defence team so far, and was the second witness of the day. She said that even being a prefect was no guarantee during the genocide. Bagambiki's wife added that her husband had been stopped at a roadblock near their house. The prefect had his niece and her children in the car. She explained that the niece, who was married to a Tutsi, had fled her home and sought refuge with Bagambiki because she feared for her family's safety. The witness continued that she had been shocked to learn that the prefect had to talk his way through the roadblock. "It was the first time in mylife to hear that a prefect could be refused passage at a roadblock", revealed Mukandekezi. Earlier in the day, "MOH, another protected defence witness who claimed to have been a member of the MDR party, told the court that the former prefect had been courageous in trying to pacify the region. He said that Bagambiki strove to restore peace in the region. "Bagambiki's pacification campaigns succeeded for a short while, but in the end, he was powerless", said the protected witness who gave part of his testimony in camera. Bagambiki is jointly tried with the excommander of Karambo military camp in the SouthWest Rwanda province of Cyangugu, Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe, and former transport and communications minister, André Ntagerura. They have denied resposnsibility for the massacres of ethnic Tutsis in Cyangugu during the 1994 genocide. The trial ended early as there were no more witnesses to call, prompting the presiding judge of Trial Chamber Three, Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis to again remind the defence the benefit of having witnesses at hand. Judge Williams is assisted by Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. KN/FH(CY'0311e)