Arusha, March 17, 2004 (FH) – A witness on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that the former Rwandan minister of health in the interim government, Casimir Bizimungu, did nothing to stop the massacres of Tutsis at Kigali's main hospital (CHK). Bizimungu and his former colleagues, Jerome Bicamumpaka of foreign affairs, Justin Mugenzi of commerce, and the minister of public service, Prosper Mugiraneza, are each accused of six counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

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“When Bizimungu visited the hospital (during the genocide), we thought that the massacres would come to an end, but instead killings continued after his visit”, alleged the 25th prosecution witness. Code-named ”QU” to keep her identity secret, the witness is a Tutsi woman who had worked at the ministry of health since 1993. She said that she had hidden at CHK for several weeks during the genocide and that the killings at CHK were carried out by soldiers. The witness had alleged at the beginning of her testimony that some workers at the ministry of health were members of the Interahamwe militia. She said that the militia kept a stock of grenades in the office of former president Juvenal Habyarimana's sister, a nun called Sister Godelive who worked in the department of human resources in the ministry. According to the witness, the militia used the ministry's vehicles on killing expeditions in 1993 to different parts of the country, citing Kirambo (northern Rwanda) and Bugesera (south eastern). Bizimungu's lead counsel, Michelyne Chénard Saint Laurent, challenged the credibility of the witness during cross-examination. “If I put it to you that Sister Godelive worked in a project that had nothing to do with the department of human resources, what would you say?”, she challenged QU. “That is not the truth”, retorted the witness. “You are talking about the Bugesera massacres of 1993, yet they happened in 1992!”, continued Saint Laurent. “There were a series of massacres in Bugesera, I am talking about the ones of 1993”, maintained the witness. The trial continues on Thursday. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana for Sri Lanka (presiding), Judge Lee Gacuiga Muthoga from Kenya and Khalid Rashid Khan from Pakistan. KN/ER/CE/FH (GVII''0317ee)