Arusha, February 20, 2003 (FH) - A prosecution witness testifying in the so-called “Butare trial”, on Friday clocked one week testifying behindclosed doors at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The witness, code-named “RV” to protect his identity, is the 31st witness so far called by the prosecution in the trial of six people accused oforganising the genocide in Butare (southern Rwanda).

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RV's testimony has been one of the rare incidences at the ICTR where the whole testimony, including cross-examination, was held in closed session. What could only be garnered from court documents is that a confession allegedly made by the witness to Rwandan authorities, was a subject ofdebate. Pierre Boulé, defence counsel for one of the accused, the former mayor of Muganza commune, Elie Ndayambaje, demanded that the confession be produced in court while RV was still in the witness stand. The court ordered the prosecutor to arrange with the Rwandan authorities and produce the documents. 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 two former mayors of Ngoma and Muganza; Joseph Kanyabashi and Elie Ndayambaje respectively. All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. Nyiramasuhuko is also the only woman indicted so far by the ICTR. Rape is among the charges brought against her for allegedly ordering soldiers and Interahamwe militia to rape Tutsi women and girls. The trial continues 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/CE/FH (BT''0220e)