Arusha, September 16, 2003(FH) - The eleventh prosecution witness on Tuesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda that genocide suspect and former Rwandan Minister of Finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, had personally launched an attack by throwing a grenade at Tutsi refugees in Gitwa Hill during the 1994 genocide. Ndindabahizi, 53, is charged with three counts including genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder).

1 min 52Approximate reading time

He allegedly perpetrated massacres of civilians in his home prefecture of Kibuye, western Rwanda. He is also accused of organizing, inciting and supervising massacres, including making public calls for the killing of Tutsis in general and certainindividuals in particular. The witness, dubbed CGV, for protection of his identity told the court that Ndindabahazi arrived at the foot of the hill in his own car accompanied by a pick-up ferrying weapons with Interahamwe and soldiers aboard. According to CGV, the suspect held a grenade in his hand while two more were strapped on his belt. The witness added that Ndindabahizi threw a grenade at the refugees. Immediately after he did that, soldiers and Intarahamwe also threw grenades while others shot. “Ndindabahizi was in a crowd of many attackers,” CGV said. The victims, including the witness, scattered in several directions but there were very few survivors after the attack. It started in the afternoon until late in the evening. The witness and other Tutsis had sought refuge in the hill on April 15th, 1994 after being chased out of their homes by Hutu neighbours in Gitesi commmune. The attack, CGV recalled, took place two days after his arrival in the hill. Contradictions between the statements?During cross-examination, Ndindabahizi's lead counsel Pascal Besnier (France) drew contradictions in the two statements given to ICTR investigators by CGV and his testimony in court. The first statement was taken on April 26, 2001 and the second on June 4, 2001. The witness had stated in one of the statements that Ndindabahazi was watching as the attackers fought the Tutsis while in his testimony he said the suspect had participated in the attack. When asked about the contradictions, the witness said the investigators had misunderstood what he told them while obtaining his statement in 2001. In his second statement, he stated that Ndindabahizi threw grenades and distributed machetes on the day of the attack. Counsel Besnier objected that “these two elements do not appear in your first statement”. The prosecutor in this trial, Tanzanian Wallace Kapaya, objected in his turn that “the first statement clearly indicates that Ndindabahizi was holding a grenade”. Besnier replied that “holding and throwing a grenade are two different things”. Asked by the presiding judge, Erik Mose of Norway, about the contradiction, the witness merely answered that he could not see any contradiction in these two statements. Late in the afternoon, CGL, the twelfth prosecution witness and another survivor of the genocide, was called to the stand. The trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR. Judge Erik Mose is assited by judges Khalida Rachid (Pakistan) and Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda). PJ/CE/FH (NB'0916e)