Arusha, April 01, 2004 (FH) – Another prosecution witness on Thursday accused the former councillor of Gishyita sector (Gishita commune, Kibuye province) Mikaeli Muhimana of raping a woman in 1994, and then ordering that she be killed. The witness code-named “AV” to protect her identity, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that she had witnessed Muhimana, also known as Mika, rape a woman near the Mubuga parish cemetery.

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AV said that she had been hiding in a bush near the cemetery when she saw Mika and a group of Interahamwe militia escort six women past where she was hiding. “I only recognised Collette, Agnes Mukagatare who worked at the Mubuga dispensary, and Alphonsine among the women,” she recollected. “I heard him tell the militia that they could not kill the women without first having sex with them. He them pulled Agnes out of the crowd and brought her near where I was hiding. He ordered her to remove her clothes and when she refused, he slapped her and that is when she started taking her clothes off”, AV narrated. The witness continued that when the accused had finished with Agnes, he removed a bayonet and when he was about to kill her, the woman pleaded not to be killed with a knife but to be shot instead. “Mika started laughing and then he ordered Agnes to join the other group naked. He told the militia to start doing their job and that they should not forget opening the women's bellies to see how a Tutsi's intestines looked like”, AV stated. She said that she later heard from someone that the girls' disembowelled bodies had been found on the roadside. AV also told the tribunal that Mika had attacked them at Mubuga Catholic Church where they had sought refuge. She alleged that he came in a Suzuki jeep accompanied by a soldier. “I saw him get a carton and remove a grenade which he tossed through a window: I heard a loud bang and moments later, there were bodies around me. I was also injured”. AV is the third witness to level allegations of rape against the accused. Mika Muhimana, 54, is accused of four counts: genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity (rape and murder). He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. A convert to Islam while in detention, Mika has taken the name of Issa. He calmly sat through the hearing wearing a suit and a white Muslim cap on his head. The trial will continue on Friday in the morning with the defence conducting cross-examination. The trial taking place in Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of Judge Khalida Rashid Khan of Pakistan (presiding), Lee Gaciuga Muthoga of Kenya and Emile Francis Short from GhanaKN/CE/FH(MH''0401e)