Arusha, February 17, 2003 (FH)- The trial of six people accused of organising the massacres in Butare (southern Rwanda) in 1994, continuedbehind closed doors Tuesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The trial known as the “Butare trial”, was hearing the 31st prosecution witness who began his testimony on Monday afternoon.

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The witness was code-named “RV” to keep his identity secret for security reasons. The most famous among the accused are a mother-and-son duo, comprising of the former minister of women and family affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, a former Interahamwe militia leader Butare. Apart from Nyiramasuhuko being the first woman to be indicted by the ICTR, she is also the first to be indicted for rape by an international jurisdiction. It is alleged that she ordered soldiers, militia and members of the population to rape and kill Tutsi women and girls who had taken refuge at Butare prefecture headquarters. Her son, Ntahobali, is alleged to have personally taken part in the rapes as well as manning roadblocks which were used to stop, identify and kill Tutsis. The other accused are 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. 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''0217e)