Arusha, February 24, 2003 (FH) - Former Rwandan Minister for Family and Women's Affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsène Shalom Ntahobali ferried Tutsis from the Butare prefecture office to a nearby forest where they were killed, a prosecution witness told judges at the International Criminal Tribunal on Monday. The nineteenth prosecution witness named RE to shield her identity testified that Nyiramasuhuko and Ntahobali were accompanied by the Interahamwe who assisted them select young men and women from a group of Tutsis who had sought refuge at the Butare Prefecture offices.

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She remembered it was in April 1994 but could not give the exact date. The Butare trial groups former Minister for Family and Women's Affairs Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, former Butare prefects Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo and former mayors of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi and of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje. Nyiramasuhuko, is the first woman to be indicted before an international court for rape and genocide. Ntahobali, the witness recalled, also led the Interahamwe and soldiers to a churchowned school called EER (Eglise Episcopale du Rwanda) near the prefecture office where they beat up the Tutsis and took some away to execute including girls to be raped. She added that Ntahobali was leading the group of Interahamwe militiamen. "As soon as we settled down on the veranda of the classrooms, soldiers and the Interahamwe came. Ntahobali led them and they started beating us. Subsequently, they arrested young men, led them to a forest nearby and executed them," RE said. According to him the Interahamwe went to the school on a daily basis during their oneweek stay at the institution. RE fled from Kigongoro Province to seek refuge in Butare with other Tutsis. She was not among those selected and taken to be killed by the Interahamwe during her stay at the Butare Prefecture office and the EER school. The witness recalled she and other refugees only spent a night at the Butare Prefecture offices before being chased away by the prefect Sylvain Nsabimana. Nsabimana referred to the victims as dirt and ordered them to leave, according to the witness. They moved to the EER but were also sent away after a week by the pastor in charge of the institution "on the pretext that we were making the place dirty". The pastor whom the witness did not name, asked the Tutsis to go back to the prefect who had send them to EER. Nyiramasuhuko's speechRE told the chamber that Nyiramasuhuko and former Interim President Theodore Sindikubwabo visited the Prefecture offices when the Tutsis had relocated and asked why the "dirt" was still there. RE told the chamber that Sindikubwabo and Nyiramasuhuko said the victims should be removed from the offices and killed. She recalled that the two were standing close to the prefecture office when they made the remarks. RE further stated that Nyiramasuhuko came back to the prefecture at night another time aboard a Toyota pickup, which was driven by Ntahobali accompanied by an Interahamwe called Kazungu. They then woke up the victims who were asleep and ordered them to remove their clothes, board the vehicle. They were driven to a nearby forest where they were killed. Young women were also taken and raped and those who refused were killed. The vehicle, RE said, made three trips that night. The witness told the court that some of the victims who had been taken to the forest managed to escape and they recounted to the witness and other Tutsi refugees how the victims were killed with machetes and clubs. RE said the remaining Tutsis were transferred to Rango forest after the appointment of Alphonse Nteziryayo as the new prefect. " He came and said he no longer wanted to see the dirt at that place. "Asked by the prosecuting counsel Adesola Adeboyejo of Nigeria if she could give the exact number of Tutsis who were killed, RE said she couldn't but that she realized each day that the number of people at the prefecture was decreasing. Nyiramasuhuko's cocounsel Guy Poupart of Canada starter crossquestioning RE in closed session in the afternoon. The trial is before Trial Chamber II composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho)PJ/CE/FH (BT0224e)