Arusha, April 21, 2004 (FH)- A self-confessed killer and prosecution witness on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the former prefect of Butare, Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo incited the population to exterminate Tutsis at two different public meetings. The witness dubbed FAH to conceal his identity was testifying in the so called "Butare trial" in which Colonel Nteziryayo is co-accused with five others for genocide and crimes against humanity.

1 min 27Approximate reading time

The witness was scheduled to begin his testimony on Tuesday but was reported to have fallen sick, compelling the court to adjourn for a day. During the first meeting FAH alleged that Col. Nteziryayo ordered the population to make patrols, erect roadblocks and check identity cards to net Tutsis whom he called 'enemies struggling to take over the country'. "The killing started the same day and intensified the following day," the witness said. Part of the examination in-chief was held in camera. He went on to explain that some dead bodies were dumped into pit latrines while others in a lake. Two or three weeks later he said, the accused addressed another meeting in which the population was ordered to finish off the surviving Tutsis hidden elsewhere. "You did not comply with the instructions. Some of you engaged in looting and others took Tutsi girls as wives. How can you do that,?" FAH quoted Col. Nteziryayo as saying. According to the witness, Col. Nteziryayo warned that whoever refused to release a Tutsi woman should also be killed. "After the meeting we landed on Tutsi survivors and killed them," the witness said, adding that he injured his neighbour's child and dumped it into a pit latrine. Frederic Pacere, lead counsel for Col. Nteziryayo took over the floor to cross examine the witness. The case continues on Thursday. The other accused include the former minister for Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko; her son and militia leader, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali ; another former prefect of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana; and two former mayors: Elie Ndayambaje, of Muganza commune and Joseph Kanyabashi of Ngoma. All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. The case is before Trial Chamber Two presided over by Judge William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania, assisted by Judge Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda. NI/JA/GF/FH (BT''0421e)