Arusha, November 6, 2003 (FH) – The defence counsel for the former director of cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, Thursday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that it was impossible for a corporal to defy orders given by their client during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Raphael Constant from Martinique, made this remark during cross-examination of the 22nd prosecution witness, code-named “DAS” to protect his identity, who was working as a night watchman at the at time.

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During his testimony, the witness had alleged that Bagosora had ordered the killing of all Tutsis and that he had “congratulated” soldiers and Hutu militia who were killing people at roadblocks around Kigali in April 1994. Constant asked the witness, who is a Tutsi, how he survived being killed yet, as he had told the court he had remained at a roadblock “for three months”. DAS explained that that his employer, whom he refused to name, used to frequently pass by the roadblock, had requested a corporal known as Irandeba to protect him. “Do not kill my watchman and do not attack my home”, the employer is alleged to have said on April 13. “Witness, do you think that a corporal could have defied the orders of a Colonel?, Constant asked, to which DAS replied, saying that “the attackers were killing Tutsis, apart from those who were on roadblocks”Considered by the prosecution as the master-mind of the genocide, Bagosora is jointly tried with the former chief of military operations of the Rwandan army, Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, the former commander of Gisenyi military region, Lieutenant-Colonel Anatole Nsegiyumva, and the former commander of the Para-commando battalion of Kanombe (Kigali), Major alloys Ntabakuze. All four have pleaded not guilty to charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The so-called “military I” trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. Before ending his testimony, DAS will be cross examined by Nsengiyumva's counsels. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'1106e)