Arusha, March 24, 2003 (FH)- A prosecution witness in the Butare trial on Wednesday denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) having undergone training by the RPF in sabotage tactics in 1993. The witness code-named “QI” to protect his identity, was cross-examined for the second day running by Michel Marchand, defence counsel for the former mayor of Ngoma in Butare, Joseph Kanyabashi, one of the six accused in this trial.

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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. “We were only taught how to handle guns, political theories and marching”, he said, adding that after the training they were sneaked back to Butare to help sensitize the population. The witness had the previous day accused Kanyabashi of having tricked refugees at a dispensary into believing they would be safe, but later ordered their massacre. QI said that he survived the killings. Though most of the trial took place behind closed doors, Marchand's cross-examination dwelt mostly on trying to question the witness's credibility and his impartiality due to his links with the RPF. Joseph Kanyabashi is jointly tried in the so-called “Butare trial” with the former minister of family women and family affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son and militia leader, Shalom Arsene Ntahobali, two former prefects of Butare; Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo and Sylvain Nsabimana and Elie Ndayambaje, former mayor of Muganza commune in Butare. 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 Ramaroson from Madagascar and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda. The trial continues on Thursday. KN/CE/FH (BT''0324e)