Arusha, March 30th, (FH) – A witness on Tuesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the former councillor of Gishyita sector (Gishita commune, Kibuye province) Mikaeli Muhimana, also known as Mika, had raped and then killed two girls on April 7, 1994. The witness code-named “AP” to protect her identity, is the second witness to testify in the trial which started on March 29.

2 min 8Approximate reading time

“Mika came to my father-in-law's house in the evening and took away two girls saying that he was taking them to safety”, the witness said, adding that Mika had been the family's friend. She continued that she followed the group with the intention of asking Mika to hide her children and saw the accused taking the girls into his house. She said she was a few metres from the door when she heard the girls screaming and begging Mika not to rape them. “They were screaming that they could not believe that it was Mika who was doing these things to them,” AP explained. She went on to say that that after about one hour, the former councillor brought the girls outside. “They were stark naked and could barely walk. Mika then called a group of young men to come and see what Tutsi women looked like”, AP said. She also narrated that one militiaman hit one of the girls on the head and she collapsed. “I immediately ran away to take my family to safety”, went on the witness. “When we were fleeing towards the hills, we met the Bourgmestre (mayor) Sikubwabo Charles who shot at us, killing my three daughters”. Only two of her children survived the gunfire. The witness had earlier testified that witnessed Mika and Sikubwabo killing two Tutsi agricultural officers, Nkudiye and Mulindahabi at the communal headquarters. She explained that when she first heard that President Habyarimana was dead, she had taken her cows to the safety of Bisesero hills because she feared an outbreak of violence. “A policeman came and arrested me on the orders of Mika saying that by taking away my cows, I was disrupting security and creating a climate of fear among the population”, said AP. The witness testified that she was put into a cell and released in the afternoon. “When she got out, there was a crowd of people beating up the two men. “Mika raised a club and hit one of the men on the head saying ‘this is how you kill a Tutsi'. He started the massacres by setting an example”, concluded the witness. 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. The prosecution maintains that Muhimana personally killed many women in Gishyita and the surrounding areas after having raped and publicly humiliating them. He is also accused of having distributed weapons to Interahamwe militia, widely believed to have spearheaded the genocide. The indictment points out that Mika Muhimana took part in many massacres in his area and singles out Mubuga and Mugonero complex and the hills of Bisesero, all in Kibuye. 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 Ghana. The trial continues Wednesday afternoon with Muhimana's lawyers, James Mwene Songa continuing with cross-examination of AP. KN/CE/FH(MH''0330e)