Arusha, October 28, 2003 (FH) – Three of the four defence witnesses testifying on Tuesday for former Rwandan Minister of Finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the accused had tried to arrest attackers of Tutsis and stop killings in Agasharu cellule, Kibuye prefecture during the 1994 genocide. The witnesses whose testimonies were similar said the suspect visited the cellule and ordered the Hutus to stop killing Tutsis in June 1994.

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The witnesses dubbed DL, DU, and DV to keep their identities secret all testified on Tuesday. 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. The fifth defence witness, DL, told the chamber in his chief examination by lead defence counsel Pascal Besnier (France), that the suspect had gone to Agasharu in early June and was angered when he found that his cousin Cyprien Karegeya, a Tutsi, had been killed. “He asked who had given orders for the Tutsis to be killed. ” DL said. Members of the population, DL stated, pointed to a man called Augustin Turikunkiko, also known as Gatete, as the one who was behind the killings and the accused ordered his immediate arrest. When the people attempted to apprehend him, he fled. Witness DV, who testified later in the day and partly in closed session, echoed DL's version of the events, also saying that he heard the suspect at Gitaka shopping centre demanding to know from the members of the population who had ordered them to kill Tutsis. “He arrested one who was suspected to have participated in the killings. People also brought one Gatete before him but he managed to flee,” DV said. DV said the suspect asked those who were listening to him to stop the massacres. Most of his testimony was taken in closed session in the afternoon. The prosecutor, Wallace Kapaya (Tanzania) questioned the credibility of the evidence of DL. In an interview by the Rwandan judicial police in 1998, DL stated that Karegeya was killed by one Baffakurera while in his oral evidence he stated that the killers were led by Everest Kabavu. DU, the sixth prosecution witness, told the chamber that she learnt from her husband while she was hiding in the bush, that Ndindabahizi had ordered that the killing of Tutsis stopped. DU, who is a Tutsi married to a Hutu, said Ndindabahizi restored security in the cellule and she was able to leave her hideout after a visit by the suspect in June 1994. Like DL, she maintained that the suspect visited the cellule in June 1994 and not in April. The eighth and last witness of the day, DB, defended the suspect from allegations that he incited to the killings of Tutsis and distributed weapons to the attackers. He said he never heard people in his locality say that Ndindabahizi had committed such crimes. DB added that he conducted investigations and found that Ndindabahizi was not responsible in any way for the killings that occurred in a road block set up at Kayenzi. The trial was adjourned until Thursday afternoon to enable the defence prepare the next five witnesses who are already in Arusha. Ndindabahizi trial is before Trial Chamber One composed of Judge Erik Mose (Norway) presiding, judges Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan) and Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda). PJ/CE/FH (NB'1028e)