Arusha, July 16, 2003 (FH) – Judges of Trial Chamber One of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), on Tuesday warned a prosecution witness not to side-step questions from the defence in the trial four senior army officers in the former Rwandan army (ex-FAR). Witness “XBM” was being cross-examined by Raphael Constant, lead counsel of one of the accused, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, former director of cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defence.

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During his testimony on Monday, the witness had alleged that in February 1994, Bagosora had sent Interahamwe reinforcements from Kigali to help carry out massacres of Tutsis at Nyundo Diocese in Gisenyi (north-west Rwanda). Bagosora is then said to have visited Gisenyi on May 24, 1994 and given the Interahamwe a huge some of money “to congratulate them” for a job well done. During cross-examinatio, Constant asked the witness to name other people who were present at that time, but “XBM” refused, even in writing, to reveal the names, citing “security reasons”. “I will only give the names to the judges, not to the defence counsels. They have a hidden agenda”, declared the witness. “It is our view that the witness never provided that information…I am going to be more firm with you. You seem to ignore the role of the defence”, admonished the presiding judge of the chamber, Erik Mose of Norway. “Stop implying that the defence has a hidden agenda. I am asking you to answer the questions you are asked”, ordered the judge. Moments later, the witness again relapsed into not answering questions put to him. This time, he had been requested to name victims, whom he had said, were killed at Mudende University (Gisenyi) after April 6, 1994. “Those people are dead. I cannot speak about ghosts”, confessed the witness. The witness had said that more than 2,000 people had been killed in that attack which he claimed was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, former military commander of Gisenyi region. On Monday, Judge Mose had already pointed out the reluctance of the witness to clearly answer questions put to him by the defence. Both Bagosora and Nsengiyumva are being tried jointly with the former chief of military operations of the Rwandan army, Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, and the former commander of the Para-commando battalion of Kanombe (Kigali), Major alloys Ntabakuze. Judge Møse is assisted in chamber one by Serguei Aleckseievich of Russia and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. The proceedings were adjourned to Wednesday afternoon, when the prosecution will call its 11th witness, code-named “OQ” to keep his identity secret. He is the last witness of the current session which began on June 16, 2003