Arusha, December 8, 2003 (FH) – The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Friday heard the fifth prosecution witness in the trial of four former Rwandan dignitaries accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. The witness code-named “CEA” to keep her identity secret, is a Tutsi who survived massacres committed at the university hospital in Butare (southern Rwanda) in 1994.

1 min 7Approximate reading time

The witness alleged that the former minister of Primary and secondary education, Andre Rwamakuba, supervised the massacres. Before being named in the interim government, Rwamakuba was a doctor at the hospital. He has pleaded not guilty. Andre Rwamakuba is co-accused with three former officials of the former ruling party, the National Republican and Democratic Movement (MRND). They are the former president of the party, Ngirumpatse Mathieu, his vice-president, Edouard Karemera, and the secretary general, Joseph Nzirorera. Karemera was also the minister of interior in the interim government, while Nzirorera was the Speaker of the transitional national assembly. This joint trial started on November 27. The first two witnesses, both investigators, presented maps, drawings and photographs of sites of massacres attributed to Nzirorera and Rwamakuba, while the next two witnesses solely incriminated Nzirorera. Apart from being named by the prosecutor during his opening statement, no witness has yet come forward to incriminate Karemera and Ngirumpatse. The prosecutor had said that the four had “orchestrated an irrational and savage violence that had dragged Rwanda into genocide”. On Friday afternoon, the prosecutor recalled the fourth witness who had interrupted his testimony because of illness. The so-called “Government I” trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR which is composed of judge Andrésia Vaz from Senegal (presiding), assisted by ad litem (non permanent) Judges Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and Florence Rita Arrey of Cameroon. The trial continues. KN/AT/CE/FH(GVI'1208)