Arusha, February 20, 2004 (FH)- A prosecution witness in the “Military I” trial on Friday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the former commander of the Kanombe Para-military battalion based in Kigali, Major Aloys Ntabakuze witnessed massacres at Kabeza (Kigali town) and “sat in his car which was moving slowly, doing nothing”. Ntabakuze is jointly charged with the former director of cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former head of operations in the former Rwandan army, Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi,and the former military commander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva.

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They are mostly charged with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. All have pleaded not guilty. The witness, code-named “AH” to conceal his identity, told the court during examination in chief that on 7th of April, 1994, massacres were beingcommitted in Kabeza(Kigali town). “Soldiers from the presidential guard arrived and went into civilians residents and they shot at people there,” he explained. He went on saying he saw Ntabakuze moving in his vehicle around the area,” doing nothing, just looking. ”AH added the accused was escorted by six soldiers from the para-commando unit. The witness also narrated how he witnessed Belgian peace keepers being killed at the UNAMIR base in Kigali where he was on guard on the morning of April 7th, 1994. “I saw presidential guard soldiers beating up the UNAMIR soldiers with bats and anything that they could use, the soldiers were pleading for mercy. After one hour six UNAMIR soldiers were dead”. He added that four other UNAMIR soldiers died after a grenade was thrown into the building they were in, by a soldier from the reconnaissancebattalion. The witness described how a certain colonel Nubaha, who was a camp commander, tried to stop the soldiers from killing whereas other officials just passed by taking no action. “He told them to stop beating the soldiers,he stayed for about ten minutes and when he realized that he couldn't succeed, he left,” the witness said. During cross-examination by Bagosora's lead counsel, Raphael Constant (France), the witness was challenged whether he was present at the scene of the killing of the Belgian peacekeepers. In contrast to other witnesses, AH said UNAMIR soldiers were armed in the building, that he never saw Major Ntuyahaga who was seen by every other witness at the scene and also that he never saw Ghanaian peacekeepers and black UNAMIR soldiers at their base. The next witnesses expected to testify as of Monday, are HN, DBQ and XAQ. DBQ, who has already given half of his testimony before the tribunal, may have his testimony delayed. Ntabakuze and his defense lawyer have requested more time to conduct investigations. The trial will break on February 27, and will resume on March 29, 2004. The prosecutor, Barbara Mulvaney (USA) indicated she expected to present all her witnesses before May 7. She said she would present a total of less than a hundred, without being more specific. AH was the 45th witness. The Military I trial is before trial Chamber One of the ICTR, presided over by Judge Erik Møse of Norway, assisted by Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov of Russia as well as Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. SV/CE/FH (ML'0220e)