Arusha, November 24, 2003 (FH) – A witness called by the prosecution onMonday in the Military I trial, told the International Criminal Tribunal forRwanda (ICTR), that a presidential guard soldier had publicly raped a Tutsirefugee in a friary in April 1994. The witness code-named “DBJ” to protect his identity, was a member of theJosephite Brothers which had a centre in the popular suburb of Nyamirambo inKigali.

1 min 58Approximate reading time

He revealed that prior to the beginning of the large-scalemassacres, the centre had for a few months been housing refugees who hadfled political violence in the nearby Biryogo suburb. The witness continued that when the genocide erupted in 1994, more peoplehad sought refuge at the centre and that it was overflowing. “On April 8, 1994, between 20 and 30 soldiers and armed militia climbed overthe wall and started attacking the refugees”, narrated DBJ. “They threwgrenades, started hacking the injured with machetes. We counted over 70bodies, there was blood everywhere”. The witness continued that in the course of the attack, girls were raped. Heparticularly singled out the case of a presidential guard soldier who rapeda schoolgirl right in front of them. “He did it right there in front of us. When he finished, he killed the younggirl and dragged her body outside”, said the religious man. The witness claimed that the centre had been the target of many attacks. “Some of them had been directed at us because of broadcasts by the prefecton RTLM”, alleged the witness, referring to the hate radio station, the“Radio television de mille collinnes”. “He said that they should search our centre for the enemy. He reminded themnot to forget searching even the ceilings”, continued DBJ, adding that inthe course of those attacks, many people were killed. The Military I trial groups together four senior army officers in the formerRwandan army (ex-FAR), accused of genocide and other related crimes. Top onthe list is Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, former director of cabinet in theRwandan ministry of defence who is accused by the prosecutor of the ICTR asbeing the “mastermind” of the genocide that claimed an estimated one millionpeople. Bagosora is jointly tried with the former head of military operations of thearmy, General Gratien Kabiligi, the former army commander of Gisenyi region,Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and Major Aloys Ntabakuze, formercommander of Kanombe Para-military battalion based in Kigali. The witness also narrated how he had witnessed killings in many differentparts of Kigali and that his facial structures had saved him. He wasanswering to Bagosora's co-counsel; Paul Skolnik from Canada, who was askinghim why he had been able to go about freely in Kigali without beingidentified as a Tutsi. He added that some Hutus who did not have identity cards with them werekilled because they had “features” of a Tutsi. “Many times I was savedbecause I did not have those features”, explained the witness. During the 1994 genocide, Tutsis were selected on the basis of their ethnicorigins mentioned in their identity cards. The trial is being conducted in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed ofJudge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov fromRussia, and Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. The trial will continue Tuesday with prosecution continuing examining thewitness. KN/CE/FH (ML'1124e)