Arusha, September 1, 2003 (FH) - The trial of genocide suspect and former Rwandan Minister of Finance Emmanuel Ndindabahizi started on Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Ndindabahizi 53, is charged with three counts including genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder).

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He is charged mainly in connection with massacres of civilians in his home prefecture of Kibuye, in western Rwanda. He is accused of allegedly organizing, inciting and supervising massacres, including making public calls for the killing of Tutsis in general and certain individuals in particular. The prosecutor Charles Adeogun-Phillips of Nigeria told the chamber in his opening statement that Ndindabahizi, visited his native Kibuye prefecture in order to instigate and order the killing of Tutsi civilians during the 1994 genocide. "By virtue of his prominence in the local community, the accused as president of PSD (Social Democratic Party) in Kibuye and serving as minister was clearly a person of considerable influence,"Philips stated. Given his position, the prosecutor added, civilians, gendarmes, and members of the Interahamwe militia followed his orders. According to the prosecutor, eighty per cent of the Tutsi population in Kibuye was killed during the genocide. Ndindabahizi, Phillips told the chamber, participated in distribution of weapons, leading convoys and transportation of attackers to massacre sites at several roadblocks in Gitwa Hill and Bisesero region between April and June 1994. "This demonstrates his specific intent to destroy in whole or in part the Tutsi as a group. Indeed Ndindabahizis statements and directives provide direct evidence of his genocidal intent,"Philips said. After the opening statement, a UN investigator and first prosecution witness Upendra Baghel, presented maps and sketches of Rwanda which he took between 1995 and 1998. He was led in his chief evidence by another prosecuting counsel Wallace Kapaya of Tanzania. His testimony was followed by that of a protected witness GKH. His chief examination was taken mainly in closed session. Phillips told the chamber that the witnesss identity would be revealed if he gave the first part of his evidence in open session. The trial will resume on Tuesday afternoon when Ndindabahizi's counsel Pascal Besnier of France will cross-examine GKH. The trial before Trial Chamber One is presided by Judge Erik Mose (Norway) assisted by Judge Khalida Rachid (Pakistan) and Solomy Bossa Balungi (Uganda). PJ/AT/FH (NB'0901e)