Arusha, March 2nd2004 (FH) – A prosecution witness in the Butare trial on Tuesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that inApril 1994, soldiers and militia blasted with grenades Mugombwa parish church for an hour and a half. The witness code-named “FAG” to protect his identity, said during cross-examination that the killers had been transported to the parish by the former mayor of Muganza, Eli Ndayambaje.

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Ndayambaje is among six people accused of committing acts of genocide in Butare (southern Rwanda) during the 1994 genocide. Hundreds of Tutsi refugees from Muganza and the surrounding had sought refuge in Mugombwa parish for fear of being killed by extremist Hutu militia. “They were throwing grenades and bottles of petrol into the church”, explained the witness, pointing out that he was among the group of attackers that included Burundian refugees living in the areas. “Those who survived the grenades were dragged out of the church and finished off”, added FAG. He said that the parish priest, only named as Father Titian, was not present during the attack. FAG continued that no Hutu was targeted during the massacres of Mugombwa. “It was us the Hutus who were hunting down Tutsis”, he statedThe witness is among the thousands who have confessed of participating in the genocide to Rwandan authorities, in the hope of getting lighter sentences. He had claimed the previous day that the killings had been planned and supervised by the former prefect of Butare Alphonse Nteziryayo, and Elie Ndayambaje. He added that both had taken part in attacks at Kabuye hill in Butare. Ndayambaje and Nteziryayo are jointly charged with the former minister of women and family affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son and former militialeader in Butare, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, another former prefect of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana, and the former mayor of Ngoma commune Joseph Kanyabashi. All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. The “Butare” 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. KN/FH (BT''0302e)