Arusha, July 1, 2003 (FH) – A prosecution witness on Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that on the morning of April 7, 1994, a day after former president Habyarimana's death, the former military commander of Gisenyi region (western Rwanda), Anatole Nsengiyumva gave orders to kill Tutsis. The witness named “DO” to keep his identity secret, said that Nsengiyumva that morning told militia that “Tutsis had to be eliminated because they killed Habyarimana”, and called upon them to reinforce the roadblocks in order to “identify and arrest the enemy (Tutsis)”.

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Nsengiyumva supposedly made the statement during a meeting he called at Gisenyi military camp. The witness, who said he did not attend the meeting, said that he had driven a number of Interahamwe militia to the meeting on the orders of a certain Captain Bizimuremyi. “DO” explained that “we were outside the building with other soldiers but within the camp”, adding that on that occasion, the accused distributed arms to Interahamwe militia in readiness to begin the killings. According to the witness, immediately after the arms were distributed, the militia began their hunt for Tutsis, beginning in Bugoyi cellule where many were killed, including a teacher and his daughter. The militia were accompanied by three soldiers from Gisenyi military camp who were dressed “in civilian clothing”. Nsengiyumva is jointly accused with the former director of cabinet in the ministry of defence also considered by the prosecution as being the mastermind of the genocide, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, Aloys Ntabakuze who used to be the commander of the Para-commando battalion based at Kanombe (Kigali) and the former head of military operations in the Rwandan army, Brigadier Gratien Kabiligi. New elements“DO”'s testimony was, on many occasions, interrupted by members of the defence teams who objected to the introduction of “new elements” that were not contained in the statements they had gotten from the prosecutor. In view of those “new elements”, the four defence teams requested for “more time” to prepare the cross-examination of the witness. They argued that if they were not granted more time, then evidence that had not been part of the witness's original statements should not be considered. After a brief consultation between the judges, the chamber ruled that like past judgments by the ICTR, new evidence not contained in the statements could be heard and it would be up to the judges, when deliberating, to consider it or not. The so-called “Military I” trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Serguei Aleckseievich of Russia and Jai Ram Reddy from Fiji. Nsengiyumva's defence counsel began cross-examining the witness in the afternoon, and continues on Tuesday. Most of the afternoon's session was held in camera. KN/GA/CE/FH (ML'0630e)