Arusha, March 5, 2003 (FH) - The crossexamination of the twentieth prosecution witness in the Butare trial continued on Wednesday amidst interventions from Presiding Judge Sekule of Tanzania at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The Butare trial groups six people accused of organising and perpetrating killings in the province of Butare, Southern Rwanda, during the 1994 genocide.

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They are former minister for family and women's affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son an alleged former militia leader Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, former mayor of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi, former mayor of Muganza Elie Ndayambaje and two former prefects of Butare Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo. On Wednesday, presiding Judge Sekule had to intervene several times to ask questions again to the witness and to clarify issues with the defense counsel. Judge Sekule also requested translators to tell witness SS to answer the question posed to her by the defense. On several occasions, he said, “Translators, could you tell witness SS that the question being asked is valid, she should listen carefully and respond. ” He also requested the witness to be brief so that the proceedings could move fast. During the proceedings, Ms. Bergevin challenged SS several times, telling the witness that what she was telling the court was not in the statement she had provided to the investigators on 20th November, 1996. "Am I right in saying that nowhere in your statement of 20th November 1996 it is said that Nyiramasuhuko ordered Hutu men to rape young Tutsi women and girls ?” asked Ms Bergevin. “I made that statement here and I realise that you make me go back and when I go back you remind me of what happened,” the witness answered. SS also told the court that each time Nyiramasuhuko visited the prefecture, she spoke about dirt when referring to Tutsi refugees. Ms Bergevin challenged SS again by reading out the statement she gave. It mentioned Nyiramasuhuko referring to dirt once : ”I remember on one occasion when Nyiramasuhuko came to the prefecture and said, ‘How come there are still dirty people here whereas in other prefectures dirt had been removed?'". In response, SS said, “Counsel, do not confuse me, I am before the court, I don't know if it is a problem of the interpreters or the investigators but I remember what I said”The defense was crossexamining SS, a woman of Tutsi origin, on the testimony she provided on Monday during examination in chief by attorney Gregory Townsend of the United States regarding Nyiramasuhuko. The Butare trial is before Trial Chamber II presided over by Tanzanian Judge William Sekule assisted by Judges Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. SV/CE/FH (0503e)