Arusha, January 31, 2003 (FH) - Trial Chamber Two of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was on Thursday compelled to hear the testimony of two defence witnesses for genocide suspect, former Minister for Higher Education, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, behind closed doors with only less than an hour of open session. The witnesses, EM and CPE identified as such to protect their identity, were both women.

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Hirondelle News Agency learnt that witness EM testified in closed session the whole morning due to her previous occupation which could have led to the disclosure of her identity if she had testified in public. CPE also began her evidence in the afternoon behind closed doors with less than an hour of public session. During that short time, the twentieth defence witness did not mention anything about the massacres in Gikomero nor talk about the accused. In open session she said that before the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 Hutus and Tutsis lived together in harmony. She said the population would get along well with one another including manning together roadblocks that had been set up to protect the population from the invading Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) rebels. Led by the accused defence council, Aicha Condo of Guinea, CPE indicated that following the death of Habyarimana, the sameTutsis that were at the roadblocks were suddenly chased and killed. Some of them fled to different places in Rubungo and Gikomero communes. CPE, who was living at the border between the two communes on the Rubungo side, said she witnessed about 300 Tutsi refugees at Gishaka catholic parish, another group of approximately 200 at the sector office and about 400 displaced Hutus at the Rubungo communal office. She said the killings started at the roadblock near Gishaka catholic parish on April 13th. The witness added that she stayed at her home until April 16 when she fled to seek refugee at Gikomero parish in the neighbouring Gikomero commune. The trial then went back to closed session. At the end of the session, defence council Aicha Conde told Hirondelle that the trial was adjourned to next Monday when the prosecution will crossexamine witness CPE. The case is before Trials Camber Two composed of Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. NI/CE/FH (KH0131e)