Arusha, September 9, 2003(FH) -The sixth prosecution witness in the trial of former Rwandan Minister of Finance Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, on Tuesday described an attack against Tutsis at Gitwa Hill on April 26th, 1994 as one which he will never forget in his life before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). During cross-examination by Ndindabahizi's lead counsel Pascal Besnier of France, the protected witness dubbed CGY told the trial chamber that a large-scale attack was launched on that day by many armed Interahamwe and civilians in military uniform.

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During the attack, women, children, old men and women were killed mercilessly, the witness said. “Thousands of innocent people died,” he stated. The witness, asked to describe the intensity of the attack by Besnier, declared that the attackers, armed with machetes, clubs and grenades, surrounded the hill from alls sides then descended on the Tutsis. Prior to the large-scale attack, CGY said there had been other minor attacks on April 18th and 24th but the attackers were overpowered by the Tutsi refugees. 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. Asked if he thinks Ndindabahizi played an important role in perpetrating genocide in Kibuye Prefecture, CGY answered in the affirmative. He further described Ndindabahizi as an influential leader of the PSD (Social Democratic Party) . The witness said he saw the suspect at Kibuye in 1993 where he was attending promotional rallies for the party. After the meetings, he went round shaking hands with supporters or waving at them while inside his car. The witness's credibility in questionBesnier challenged the credibility of the witnesses's evidence that he had seen Ndindabahizi distributing machetes below Gitwa hill on April 23rd 1994. “Don't you find it strange that a minister should distribute machetes to people who already possess one”, Besnier asked, referring to the fact that Rwandan peasants usually own such weapons. The witness replied that he had seen the suspect do so, adding that there was also a possibility he had distributed guns as well. CGY has already testified at the ICTR in the Musema trial. The former director of the tea factory of Gisovu was sentenced to life in prison on November 16, 2001. Counsel Besnier emphasized contradictions between CGY's testimony in the Musema trial and in this one, concerning for instance the dates of the attacks on Gitwa hill. “In the Musema trial, you very clearly stated that there had been no attack on Gitwa between April 18 and 26 (1994)”, Besnier explained. Counsel Besnier further indicated that CGY never mentioned the accused in the Musema trial. “Then, I was asked about Musema. Today I am asked about Ndindabahizi”, the witness retorted. After CGY completed his testimony, another witness, CGF was sworn in and the chamber went into closed session. The trial continues on Wednesday with the testimony of CGF. The trial is before Chamber One, composed of Judge Erik Mose (Norway) presiding, Judge Khalida Rachid (Pakistan) and Judge Solomy Bossa Balungi (Uganda). PJ/CE/FH (NB'0909e)