Arusha, February 16, 2003 (FH)-A prosecution witness Monday alleged before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR that the former head of operations in the former Rwandan army, Brigadier General Gratien Kabiligi, had in April 1994, praised an army captain for having captured and killed Tutsis. The witness code-named "DY" to keep his identity secret, made the allegations while testifying in the trial of four senior army officers of the former Rwanda army (ex-FAR).

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DY was a former member of the reconnaissance battalion who served as an escort to Kabiligi in an armoured carrier. He said that an officer known as Captain Jean Morgan Hategekimana, had called Brig. Kabiligi informing him that he had captured an Inyenzi(a derogatory name for Tutsis) named Mudenge who had the rank of Second Lieutenant in the FAR. "What are you waiting for? I am on my way", the accused allegedly answered the call. The captured military officer is said to have been killed immediately together with nine other Tutsis at ONATRACOM (a national transport company) "one kilometre from Kigali army camp". DY put the time of the alleged killings to between 15 and 20 April. When Kabiligi arrived at the scene, he found Hategekimana with his two escorts in the company of an estimated thirty Interahamwe militia, all armed. "Congratulations!" the General allegedly exclaimed. "That is the way Inyenzis should be hunted down". The indictment states that prior to the genocide and during the 1994 massacres, Tutsi were regarded as enemies and accomplices of the Tutsis dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), a former rebel group now in power in Kigali. It was fighting the government at that time. The witness recalled that Mudenge had been imprisoned in 1990 on suspicion of colluding with the RPF. He was released a year later before being re-integrated into the army in 1992. DY added in his testimony that Kabiligi toured different parts of Kigali where soldiers and militia were killing Tutsis at roadblocks in 1994. The witness claimed that the accused did nothing to either stop the killings or punish the perpetrators. Gratien Kabiligi's franco-togolese lawyer, Jean Degli, pointed out at contradictions between the witness's earlier statements and his testimony in court, thereby casting doubt on DY's credibility. Degli continued that the witness's life was never threatened during the genocide even though he was Tutsi. He added that Mudenge had been arrested and imprisoned not because he was Tutsi, but that because he had been involved in a fight with civilians and had been found guilty of rape. Kabiligi is jointly being tried with the former director of cabinet in the Rwandan ministry of defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former army commander of Gisenyi region, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva, and the former commander of the Para-commando battalion in Kanombe (Kigali), Major Aloys Ntabakuze. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Erik Møse from Norway (presiding), Judge Serguei Aleckseievich Egorov from Russia, and Judge Jai Ram Reddy of Fiji. Cross-examination of DY continues Tuesday. KN/GA/AT/FH (ML''02016e)