Arusha, March 17, 2004 (FH) – A prosecution witness in the trial of four former senior Rwandan government officials, on Wednesday claimed at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that the sister of former president Juvenal Habyarimana, named Sister Godelive, had stocked grenades in her office months before the genocide. The witness code-named “QU” to conceal her identity, alleged that the grenades “were kept in Sister Godelive's office at the department of human resources in the ministry of health”.

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The witness is a Tutsi woman who had been working in the ministry of health since1993. “Sister Godelive used to harass the head of the department, a Tutsi, calling him an enemy, “the witness added. She pointed out that Sister Godelive was a nun but could not recall what religious order she belonged to. “The department was filled with Interahamwe militia, most of them drivers who sometimes armed themselves with grenades and ready to kill us at anytime”, said the witness. She continued that the militia used the ministry's vehicles to go and kill people around the country in 1993 and early 1994. “Casimir Bizimungu must have been aware of what was happening because they were using the ministry's cars”, alleged the witness. Bizimungu is jointly accused in the so-called “Government II” trial with the former minister of commerce, Justin Mugenzi, that of foreign affairs, Jerome Bicamumpaka, and the former minister of public service, Prosper Higiro. All have pleaded not guilty to six counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. QU is the 25th witness to be called by the prosecution. 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''0317e)