Arusha, December 11, 2003 (FH) - Another former member of the Para-commando battalion of Kigali, Thursday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that a former commander of the battalion, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, had called on soldiers to avengethe death of president Habyarimana. The witness code-named "XAP", was appearing as the 35 th prosecution witness in the trial of four senior officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR).

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He said that Ntabakuze publicly made the remarks to assembled soldiers immediately after the death of Habyarimana. "The president is dead and should be avenged by killing all the enemies, the former chief of the battalion is alleged to have said. "All Tutsis must be killed because they are responsible for his death". Major Aloys Ntabakuze, 54, is jointly tried with the former director of Cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora,62, the former head of military operations of the army, General Gratien Kabiligi,52, and the former army commander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, 53. All four have pleaded not guilty to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. XAP continued that that night, there were sounds of gunfire in the neighbourhoods surrounding the battalion's headquarters in Kanombe. "Very many people died that day", said the witness, adding that some soldiers in his battalion even bragged about having killed many Tutsis. The witness continued that those who refused to carry out the orders were severely punished. "He handed over to Interahamwe militia a soldier who had tried to hide Tutsis. The soldier was never seen again", claimed XAP. He added that long before the genocide, Ntabakuze had indoctrinated soldiers under his command to hate Tutsis. "A special course on how to define the enemy was carried out in our battalion", he claimed. XAP continued that between 1990 and 1992, many people, including women, were brought into the camp killed, and buried in shallow graves. "They said that they were either prisoners of war or spies". The prosecution maintains that the accused were very instrumental in fanning the genocide and that they had been part of the extremist wing of the army who were against sharing power with the former rebels of the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF)Part of the indictment states that "as from 1993, and even before that date, anxious to radicalise the Interahamwe movement, the leaders of the MRND, in collaboration with officers of the FAR, decided to provide military training to those members most devoted to their extremist cause and to other idle youths. Furthermore weapons were distributed to them. "Cross examination of witness XAP will continue on Friday in trial Chamber One of the ICTR. The chamber is composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway, Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. KN/AT/FH (ML'121e)