Arusha, October 31, 2003 (FH) –The defence team in the trial of former Rwandan Minister of Finance Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, have presented evidence of more than half of the witnesses within a week before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The defence began their case on October 27th and twelve witnesses had testified by the end of the week.

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The defence intends to call a total of twenty witnesses. This trial is seen as one of the fastest at ICTR. It began on September 1st. Three more witnesses named DM, DO and DI, currently detained in various prisons in Rwanda for genocide testified on Friday in favour of Ndinadbahizi. DM told the chamber that he saw the accused at Gitaka centre at the end of June 1994. He said Ndindabahizi was concerned about the massacres at the area and he was asking a crowd who had directed them to kill Tutsis. Ndindabahizi then arrested one of the people called Augustin Karara but another one called Gatete escaped. DO corroborated the evidence of DM on Ndindabahizi's presence at Gitaka, although he did not see Ndindabahizi personally but heard from other people of his arrival and the arrest of Karara. The witness, who has confessed to about twenty killings committed in 1994, added that Ndindabahizi was not there during the killing of a Tutsi called Tatiana Munkabatana. He was among the group that killed her at Gitaka shopping centre. Some prosecution witnesses testified that Munkabatana was killed as a result of orders given by Ndindabahizi. The third witness of the day, DI, also detained in prison, began his testimony shortly before the trial was adjourned. He will continue testifying on Monday afternoon. Ndindabahizi 53, is charged with three counts including genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder). He allegedly perpetrated massacres of civilians in his home prefecture of Kibuye, western Rwanda. He is represented by Pascal Besnier and Guillaume Marçais (France) while the prosecution team is composed of Charles Adeogun-Phillips (Nigeria) and Wallace Kapaya (Tanzania). The trial is before Trial Chamber One composed of Judge Erik Mose (Norway) presiding, assited by judges Khalida Rashid Khan (Pakistan) and Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda). PJ/CE/FH (NB'1031e)