Arusha, July 8, 2003 (FH) – A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial known as “Military I”, on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that one of the accused, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, oversaw killings of Tutsis at a church in Gisenyi (north-west) prefecture. A protected witness going under the pseudonym of “XBG” to keep his identity secret told Trial Chamber One that 53 year-old Nsengiyumva, former military commander of Gisenyi region, had led about “one thousand” armed militia onBusasamana parish in Rwerere commune during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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Hundreds of Tutsis had taken refuge there. XBG, a former member of the extremist CDR party and militia leader in Rwerere, was recently released from prison in Rwanda under a presidential amnesty that covered different categories of prisoners, among them those who confessed their crimes. He acknowledged that he had been one of the attackers. “Nsengiyumva, accompanied by Hassan Ngeze, arrived at the parish with busloads of Interahamwe”, declared the witness. Ngeze is a former editor and owner of Kangura newspaper who is also on trial at the ICTR in the “media trial”. The witness said that before they attacked the church, Nsengiyumva addressed them, telling them to be careful not to destroy the church as it was “a holy place”. He said that on that day, 180 people were killed in a chapel behind the priests' quarters. Nsengiyumva is jointly accused with the former chief of military operations of the Rwandan army, Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi, the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, and the former commander of the Para-commando battalion of Kanombe (Kigali), Major Aloys Ntabakuze. Earlier in his testimony, XBG said Nsegiyumva had supervised the training and arming of Interahamwe militia in Gisenyi to help fight “inyenzi (derogatory word for RPF rebels at that time) and their accomplices”. He continued that immediately after President Habyarimana's death, two lieutenants from Gisenyi had arrived in Rwerere to help coordinate militia attacks on Tutsis. The witness alleged that they had been sent by Anatole Nsengiyumva. At one time, Raphael Constant, defence counsel for Bagosora, objected to evidence alluding to incidents at Mudende University arguing that “they were not part of the indictment”. “We are not going to make a tour of Rwanda where atrocities were committed which have no relation to the indictment”, he said. The presiding judge of chamber one, Erik Møse of Norway, sustained the defence's objection cautioning the prosecutor, Barbara Mulvaney of the USA by saying that “evidence not relevant to the accused in not necessary”. Cross examining the witness, one of Nsengiyumva's co-counsels, Kennedy Ogetto of Kenya, challenged allegations made by witness XBG, in which he said that the gendarmerie commander of Gisenyi, Captain Jabo, had distributed weapons, among them FAL and G3 rifles. “I put it to you, witness, that the commander in Gisenyi at that time was not Captain Jabo but Major Andre Bizimana”. XBG was adamant, insisting that he knew Jabo very well. “He is short and light-skinned. He was accompanied by Barayagwiza at that time”, the witness added, referring to Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, a former government official who is also on trial in the media case at the ICTR. He is regarded by the prosecution as the ideologue of CDR. Ogetto will continue cross-examining the witness on Thursday. Judge Møse is assisted in the “Military I” trial by Serguei Aleckseievich of Russia and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. KN/CE/FH (ML'0708e)