Arusha, March 30, 2004 (FH) – The 44th prosecution witness and schoolmate of one of the six accused in the so called “Butare trial”, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday that he witnessed people being beaten and killed at a roadblock erected near the accused family house at the Butare national university. Led by prosecuting counsel Jonathan Moses in his examination in-chief, the witness code-named TG said that before witnessing the killing, he, together with the couple who hosted him in their house, were put under arrest by the Interahamwe militia following the orders made by Ntahobali.

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The event took place in July 1994. “Assuming that he knew me, I greeted him and immediately showed my identity cards which showed that I was Hutu. He did not believe me and instead ordered me to sit down,” the witness narrated. TG had earlier told the chamber that he went to the same secondary school with the accused Ntahobali and when he saw him leading Interahamwe he thought he would spare him. He said that Ntahobali ordered the Interahamwe to break the doors and windows of the house he was hiding in, and ended up discovering the landlord and his wife who were also immediately put under arrest. According to the witness the three were taken around Butare town in a pick-up under the supervision of Ntahobali, Interahamwe militia and two armed soldiers singing and boasting that they had apprehended “a big fish,” meaning his landlord who was a Tutsi businessman in Butare. He continued that from Butare they were taken to the roadblock near the house of the family of the accused where they witnessed people being beaten and killed in a nearby forest. Earlier in the day, witness “RL” concluded his cross examination. RL had been testifying since Thursday. The trial continues on Wednesday. Ntahobali is jointly tried with his mother Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former minister for Family and Women Affaires, two former prefects of Butare; Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo and Sylvain Nsabimana, Elie Ndayambaje, former mayor of Muganza commune and that of Ngoma Joseph Kanyabashi. All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of judge William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Judge Arlette amaroson from Madagascar and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda. NI/CE/FH (BT''0330e)