Arusha, February 17, 2004 (FH) - The defence counsel for the former head of military operations in the former Rwandan army, General Gratien Kabiligi, on Tuesday challenged a prosecution witness for being inconsistent in his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The counsel, Jean Yaovi Degli from Togo, said that what the witness had told the court was different from his written testimony to the investigators.

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The witness, code-named DY to protect his identity, repeatedly explained that “there is no contradiction, I believe the person took down the statements wrongly. ”DY, the 43rd prosecution witness in the Military I tiral, testified mainly against Kabiligi. He said that at the time of the genocide in 1994, he was a member of the reconnaissance battalion who served as an escort to Kabiligi in an armoured carrier. He was cross-examined about the killings he witnessed of up to ten Tutsis at ONATRACOM (the national transport company) along with the killing of Mudenge, who had the rank of Second Lieutenant in the FAR. The witness had said that Kabiligi did nothing to stop the killings. Part of DY's written statement stated that while escorting Kabiligi in 1994 from Kigali to Nyamirambo, “A woman lay dead by the post office, we were passing on training vehicles and Kabiligi was among us, he saw the woman and red cross vehicles also passed by and Kabiligi never asked them to take her away, she remained there for four days. ”In his testimony before the tribunal DY said, “We passed by with Kabiligi and I saw a crowd of people beating a woman in her innerwear, that woman was being killed. The following day and three subsequent days she was still suffering, her legs and arms were cut and she was still moving”. The witness kept repeating that the person who recorded his statement took it down wrongly. Mr. Degli challenged the witness that the last page of the statement showed that his written statement was read back to DY before he signed it. The witness retorted that “the statement was read to me by the investigator. He asked if I understood, I said yes I had, and I signed it. ”Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji also queried DY regarding inconsistency, “There is descrepancy in your statements because it shows that neither you nor Kabiligi saw the killing of 10 bodies of people at Murabira but in your testimony you say you saw them?”Another witness, named GS to keep his identity secret, also completed his examination in chief in the afternoon. He testified mainly against Major Aloys Ntabakuze who was the commander of the Kanombe para-commando battalion based in Kigali. “He was the one who provided instructions to train Interahamwe in military matters,” GS said. GS will be cross-examined on Wednesday. DCH is expected to testify next. General Gratien Kabiligi and Major Aloys Ntabakuze are co accused with the former director of cabinet in the Rwandan Ministry of Defense, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora and Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva who was in charge of the Gisenyi military area (North-western Rwanda). All have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial is in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, presided over by Judge Erik Møse of Norway. He is assisted by Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov of Russia as well as Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. SV/CE/FH (ML'0217e)