Arusha, March 25, 2003 (FH) - The 42nd prosecution witness in the “Butare trial” concluded his testimony in closed session on Thursday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The witness code-named “QI” to protect his identity was being cross examined by Guy Poupart, co-counsel for Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former minister of Family and Women Affaires, on trial in this case with five other accused.

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Most of the session took place behind closed doors. In open session, Poupart's cross-examination mainly tried to challenge the witness's credibility and his impartiality due to his links with the RPF. Hardly five minutes after the open session, the trial chamber went into closed session to enable the counsel to ask the witness questions which might reveal his identity. When the chamber came back in open, another witness, code-named RL, was testifying in examination in-chief. Previously QI had acknowledged having undergone a secret politico-military training in RPF camps in Byumba, but denied having been training in making bombs or in acts of sabotage. Pauline Nyiramasuhuko is jointly tried with her son and militia leader, Shalom Arsene Ntahobali, 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 case continues next Monday. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of Judge William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Judge Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda. NI/CE/FH (BT''0325e)