Arusha, August 29, 2003 (FH) - American senior human rights expert, Alison Des Forges has told Hirondelle news agency that all parties which participated in the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda should face the law. The expert said that while clarifying an issue raised in the court by the defense counsel for former mayor of Rusumo commune Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, Mr Kouengoua of Cameroon whether the people of Nyarubuye were killed by the Hutu or the Rwandese Patriotic Front-RPF.

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Answering a question on whether RPF soldiers should be tried Des Forges said, "sometimes when people call for justice for war crimes and crimes against humanity they are accused particularly by the Rwandan government of being negationist, revisionist or people who want to minimize the genocide, but that's not the point, the equivalence of justice is a right to all the victims whatever the crime done"The human rights expert said the Nyarubuye massacre took place on April 5th. The victims were killed by militia, local population, gendarmes and soldiers, there were also killings by RPF which took place two weeks later. She completed her testimony as the last prosecution witness in the Gacumbitsi trial on Wednesday the 27th. Sylvestre Gacumbitsi is charged with five counts including genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity. It is believed that 20,000 people have been killed at Nyarubuye during the genocide. The defense suggested that RPF perpetrated most of the killings. Madame Des Forges said she saw around bodies lying on the foreground of the church at Nyarubuye when she first visited Rwanda in August 1994, after the genocide. "What I saw in Nyarubuye made me estimate the number of corpses to be around 1000 or less, other bodies were destroyed by dogs and others were taken away for burial""I believe the figure of 20,000 people comes from an estimate done days before the massacre of people taking refuge at the parish. "said Des Forges. She added that "The population of Tutsis was fewer than 4000, some of them fled across the border so the number of Tutsis killed there was less than 4000"Alison Des forges also said that, an unknown number of people killed at Nyarubuye was not counted. "I did not see any mass graves nor did I count the number of people killed in banana plantations or people killed in homes"She added that, "More people kept coming to the parish which was the largest in the area so the actual figure is unknown and the presented figures are based on prior estimates of people fed by the parish. "The prosecution closed its case on August 27th. The trial has been adjourned to October 6 when the defense will present witnesses. The prosecutor in this trial is Richard Karegyesa of Uganda assisted by Andra Mobberley from New Zealand and Holo Makwaia of Tanzania. The prosecutor presented a total of 15 witnesses. The defense counsel Mr. Kouengoua is assisted by Ms Anne Mbattang. Both of them are from Cameroon. The trial is before Trial Chamber Three, which is composed of Senegalese judge Andresia Vaz (presiding) and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji and Serguei Aleckseivich Egorov from Russia. SV/FH (GA'0829e)