Arusha, March 3, 2004 (FH) – The former mayor of Muganza commune in Butare (southern Rwanda), Elie Ndayambaje, allegedly ordered people to attack Tutsi refugees in 1994 because they were a “security risk”. The allegations were made by the 35th prosecution witness, code-named “FAG” to protect his identity during cross-examination in the Butare trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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The witness said that he and a crowd of people were standing at Bishya trading centre (Muganza commune), when Ndayambaje drove over in a Toyota pickup belonging to the commune, accompanied by communal policemen. He allegedly stated that the refugees who were assembled at Kabuye hill had resisted attacks by police and the population. “The police and the population have failed. I am going to see what my ‘bosses' can do to help out”, FAG claimed the former mayor said. He continued that Ndayambaje arrived in the evening accompanied by soldiers and drove towards Kabuye hill. The witness added that when he and a group of between 150 and 200 people went to Kabuye hill the next day, the whole place was in a mess. “There were many bodies and dead animals lying around”, he said. He continued that even though they had been ordered by local authorities to go and give a hand to the killers, the job had already been done and no one was alive. FAG admitted having taken part in attacks against Tutsis and that he had confessed to Rwandan judicial authorities. The cross examination of FAG has been conducted since Tuesday by one of Elie Ndayambaje's counsel, Claude Desrochers from Canada. Ndayambaje's joint trial in what is known as the “Butare group” includes the former minister of women and family affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her sonand former militia leader in Butare, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, two former prefects of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo, and the former mayor of Ngoma commune, Joseph Kanyabashi. All have pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Butare in 1994. 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''0303e)