Arusha, July 4, 2003 (FH) - A prosecution witness on Thursday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that two senior army officers of the former Rwandan army prepared lists of Tutsis to be killed in 1993 as a prelude to the genocide of 1994. The eighth prosecution witness code-named "XPH" to protect his identity, singled out Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, a former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence and considered by the prosecution as the "mastermind" of the genocide, and Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, former military commander of Gisenyi (north-west Rwanda) region.

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The lists of people to be killed were allegedly drawn up in Butare (southern Rwanda) at the house where the witness was employed as houseboy. The witness did not name his employer in public for security reasons. The witness could also not indicate the exact date the meeting allegedly took place. On that occasion, Bagosora is said to have declared that they should revenge the death of "important Hutus" who had been eliminated. It is at that point that he proposed that lists of Tutsi businessmen and intellectuals be drawn up to be killed in return. "Anatole Nsengiyumva supported the idea", claimed the witness, explaining that the meeting took place a few days after the death of Martin Bucyana, then president of the radical Hutu party, the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR). XPH revealed that both Nsengiyumva and Bagosora each suggested names of Tutsis from their respective regions. "I also contributed some names", he added. The witness confessed that after the death of president Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, he had participated in large scale massacres in Gisenyi that began on April 8 "by identifying those who had been on the 'Butare' list". The prosecution alleges that from the end of 1990 up to July 1994, Theoneste Bagosora and others, including the three jointly accused with him, had prepared a "Machiavelic plan" to eliminate the Tutsi civilian population and members of the opposition in order to hang on to power. "Some of the elements in that plan included promoting hatred, ethnic violence, training and arming Interahamwe militia as well as drawing up lists of those to be killed", according to the prosecution. Bagosora and Nsengiyumva are jointly on trial with the former head of military operations of the army, General Gratien Kabiligi, and the former commander of the Para-commando battalion in Kanombe (Kigali), Major Aloys Ntabakuze. All have pleaded not guilty. While being cross-examined by Raphael Constant, Bagosora's counsel, the witness asserted that the errors found in his statement were the fault of ICTR investigators. "I neither speak English nor French", he excused himself. The so-called "Military I" trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse (presiding)I assisted by Serguei Aleckseievich of Russia and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'0704e)