Arusha, January 23, 2003 (FH) - The trial of former Rwandan Minister for Higher Education and genocide suspect, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda continued on Thursday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda with the testimony of the fifteenth defence witness. GPG, who is a protected witness, testified mainly on the attack unleashed by the Interahamwe on the Tutsis who had sought refuge at the Gikomero Parish.

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Most of his testimony was similar to that of the other defence witnesses who have testified since the trial resumed on January 13th. The eight witnesses have testified to the effect that they never saw Kamuhanda in Gikomero during the massacres at the parish. They have also disputed allegations by the prosecution that the former minister was behind the massacres at Gikomero commune. GPG, who belongs to the Hutu ethnic group, told the chamber that he knew Kamuhanda personally because the minister's younger brother was his friend. He stated that the minister was not in his native commune during the attack at the parish on April 12th 1994. The witness said he was surprised by Kamuhanda's arrest because he was never involved in the massacres as claimed by the prosecution. "Kamuhanda was not at the site of killings. Some of those who participated in the crime are known and are in prison". The trial continues on Monday with the evidence of a defence witness dubbed TND. Kamuhanda's 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 (KH0123e)