Arusha, February 23, 2004 (FH)- A prosecution witness in the “Military I”involving the former director of cabinet in the Rwandan ministry ofdefence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora on Monday told the InternationalCriminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) during cross-examination that theInterahamwe could kill soldiers from the government. Bagosora is jointly charged with the former commander of the KanombePara-military battalion based in Kigali, Major Aloys Ntabakuze the formerhead of operations in the former Rwandan army, Brigadier General GratienKabiligi, and the former military commander of Gisenyi region, LieutenantColonel Anatole Nsengiyumva.

1 min 15Approximate reading time

They are mostly charged with Conspiracy toCommit Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. All have pleadednot guilty. The witness code-named XAQ to conceal his identity was being cross-examinedby the lead defense counsel for Ntabakuze, Andre Tremblay (Canada) when hesaid that the Interahamwe did not need any permission to get into theKanombe military camp. “The Interahamwe had permission, they had the rightto kill soldiers from government if they deserted the front line,” he said,The accusation maintains the Interahamwe are the main perpetrators of thegenocide, alongside other units of the military and government. XAQ, the 47th prosecution witness, added that the Interahamwe (the MRNDyouth wing) were given training and weapons by senior military officials. During cross-examination the witness clarified issues he had raised duringexamination in chief. In particular, he was asked by the lead counsel forColonel Bagosora, Raphael Constant (Franco-Martinique) about the content ofthe meetings that he said were organized by Colonel Bagosora. “It was a long time ago - fourteen years - and I cannot remember what hesaid. All I remember is that the meetings were held at a place called JollyBar in shrubs overlooking Kanombe,” he answered. Bagosora is considered by the prosecutor to be the “mastermind” of thegenocide. XAQ's cross-examination continues on Tuesday. The Military I trial is before trial Chamber One of the ICTR, presided overby Judge Erik Møse of Norway. Who is assisted by Judge Serguei AleckseievichEgorov of Russia as well as Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. SV/CE/FH (ML'0223eee)