Arusha, October 2, 2003 (FH) – Another former member of the Kanombe Para-commando battalion in Kigali, Thursday reasserted before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that the former commanderof that elite unit, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, had called for the killing of Tutsis in April 1994. This 20th prosecution witness dubbed “DP” to protect his identity said that Ntabakuze had made this call on the morning of April 7, 1994, a day after former president Juvenal Habyarimana's plane was shot down.

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He said this while being cross-examined by a member of the prosecution team, Christine Graham of Sweden. The last witness for the current session, DP was testifying in the so-called “Military I trial” which groups together three other senior army officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR). The witness stated that the accused had left the camp together with an elite group of commandos known as CRAP (Commandos de Recherches et d'Appui en Profondeur) to go and spend the night at the site of the plane's crash. Ntabakuze came back the next morning and allegedly called on his soldiers to fight the RPF (former rebels of the Tutsi-dominated Rwandese Patriotic Front) and kill all Tutsis. Two other former soldiers under Ntabakuze's command have made the same allegations before the tribunal, though they gave conflicting evidence as to when it had happened. XAI and DBQ who testified on September 8 and 26 respectively, asserted that the accused had made the call on the night of April 6, 1994 shortly after the assassination of the president. But DP placed the incident to April 7 “around 11 o'clock”, adding that before the accused left for the crash site, he had simply informed them of the accident and ordered them to be on “stand-by”. “Are you sure it was the first time that the accused allegedly gave those orders?” asked Judge Jai Ram Reddy form Fiji, one of the three judges of Trial Chamber One. “I am sure your honour”, replied DP. Ntabakuze is being jointly tried in the so-called “Military I” with the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former head of military operations of the army, General Gratien Kabiligi, and the former army commander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva. During cross examination, André Tremblay, Ntabakuze's Canadian co-counsel, countered that at the time of the so-called assembly, his client was not present. “He was in another meeting at the Military Academy (l'Ecole Supérieure Militaire (ESM) near the army headquarters",. Tremblay pointed out that the mobilisation of soldiers of the para-commando battalion was meant to reinforce the Kanombe camp having been alerted that the RPF had launched an attack on the Presidential Guard (GP) and Remera in Kigali. The chamber is composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Reddy. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'1002e)