Arusha, March 29th, (FH) – The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Hassan Bubacar Jallow, on Monday described the killings in Kibuye (western Rwanda) during the 1994 genocide as being “intimate murders”. .

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Jallow was making opening remarks at the beginning of the trial of the former counsellor of Gishyita sector (Gishita commune, Kibuye province) Mikaeli Muhimana. Muhimana, popularly known as “Mika”, 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. “It was here that the worst of ‘intimate murders' took place as men and women began killing friends, neighbours, even members of their own family”, remarked the prosecutor. He added that this was done “under the watchful eyes, the exhortation, the encouragement and direct participation of local administrators such as the accused…”The prosecutor continued that Muhimana and others not before the court had used rape, murder, sexual violence and abuse as a tool “to destroy the Tutsis as a group”. “The accused killed; he got others to kill, he raped, violated and sexually assaulted women in furtherance of his genocidal intentions, ” he said. The prosecution maintains that Muhimana personally killed many women in Gishyita and the surrounding areas after having raped and publicly humiliated 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 Bisesesro. The prosecution alleges that on the morning of April 16, the accused accompanied by others including Pastor Elizaphan Ntikirutimana and his son Dr, Gerald Ntakirutimana, attacked Mugonero complex and “inflicted unimaginable pain in a slaughter which lasted well into the night”. Both pastor and Dr. Ntakirutimana were February 19, 2004 found guilty by the ICTR and sentenced to 10 and 25 years in prison respectively. Muhimana is the first municipal counsellor to be brought before the tribunal. Another former counsellor of the neighbouring Mubuga sector, Vincent Rutaganira, is awaiting trial. Mika Muhimana was a businessman before he was elected to head Gishyita sector in 1988. He was arrested November 8 1999 in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and transferred the same day to the UN detention facilities in Arusha. He has since then been converted to Islam and has chosen the name Issa. The accused is represented by Professor James Nyabirungu Mwene Songa and Kazadi Kabimba both from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The prosecution will be led by Charles Adeogun-Phillips from Nigeria. Jallow announced that the team expected to wind up the case within the “customary” 4 weeks. Last November 28, 2003, the trial of the former minister of Finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, came to a close. The prosecution team of Phillips and Wallace Kapaya from Tanzania finished presenting their case in a record one month. The prosecution intends to call a total of twenty witnesses including two expert witnesses: ICTR investigator, Anthony Lucassen from the Netherlands who began his testimony on Monday afternoon, and Rwandan women's rights activist, Ingabire Marie Immaculee. Ingabire is a former journalist and director of Pro-Femmes/Twese Hamwe, a Kigali-based NGO that specialises in counselling victims of rape and other sexual assaults that took place during the genocide. 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. KN/CE/FH(MH''0329e)