Arusha, February 23, 2003 (FH) – A self-confessed killer and prosecution witness in the so-called ‘'Butare trial'' told the International CriminalTribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday, that one of the accused in this trial, Elie Ndayambaje distributed weapons and ordered the massacres of Tutsis in April 1994. The witness, code-named QBZ, said Ndayambaje, former Mayor of Muganza commune in Butare prefecture (Southern Rwanda), first ordered him and a group of about 20 Hutus to kill 50 Tutsis who were then detained in one of the communal jails.

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“The time for the Tutsis has come,” the witness quoted Ndayambaje to have said while addressing the population in Muganza in April 1994 (no specific date was mentioned). Asked by prosecuting counsel, Adelaide Whest, what that phrase meant the witness said ‘the time had come for the Tutsis to be killed. 'The witness alleged that Ndayambaje gave them communal guns which they use to kill the Tutsi detainees. Ndayambaje is jointly charged with the former minister of women and family affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son and former militia leader in Butare,Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, two former prefects of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana and Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo, and former mayors of Ngoma commune Kanyabashi. All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. QBZ, the 32nd prosecution witness, went on explaining that the following day Ndayambaje took them to Kabuye hill where Tutsis had sought refugee but did not stay long. “We left Kabuye with Ndayambaje and went to Butare to get more soldiers” he said. He said that a few minutes before they left Butare with armed soldiers, Ndayambaje shot dead one young lady called Venerande. According to the witness when they got back to Kabuye, the soldiers started shooting at the refugees and many were killed while others manages to escape to neighbouring Tanzania. Most part of QBZ's evidence was head in closed session, and specific dates and time when all these events occurred was not mentioned in open session. The trial continues on Tuesday 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. NI/CE/FH (BT''0223e)