Arusha, August 26, 2003 (FH) -Human rights expert Alison Des Forges, Tuesday testified at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the trial of Sylvestre Gacumbitsi, the former mayor of Rusumo commune, Kibungo Prefecture (eastern Rwanda)Gacumbitsi is charged with five counts related to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. They include genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, extermination, murder and rape as crimes against humanity.

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During the proceedings, Des Forges was cross-examined by defense counsel Kouengoua from Cameroon on information she gave to the tribunal in 1997during the trial of Jean Paul Akayesu, former mayor of Taba, Gitarama (central Rwanda), as well as on her publications. Alison des Forges is famous for her book, Leave None to tell the story, a detailed account of the genocide, though no direct question was asked on this book. Des Forges who is widely published on matters relevant to Rwanda and the genocide was asked questions regarding her evidence during the trial of Akayesu, background of the history of Rwanda, and the events related to the genocide. No single question was directly targeted towards the accused. The American historian has previously testified in various trials at the tribunal as an expert witness called by the prosecution. The prosecutor in this trial is Richard Karegesya of Uganda assisted by Andra Mobberley from New Zealand and Holo Makwaia of Tanzania. The defense counsel is Mr. Kouengoua assisted by Ms Anne Mbattang. Both are from Cameroon. The trial is before Trial Chamber Three, which is presided over by Senegalese judge Andresia Vaz, Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji and Serguei Aleckseivich Egorov from Russia. SV/FH (GA'0826e)