Arusha, February 6, 2003 (FH)- A prosecution witness in the so-called “Butare trial” Friday alleged that the former Prefect of Butare (southernRwanda), Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo, told residents not to attempt killing a Belgian friar. The witness code-named “QAF”, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that people in Muganza commune had wanted to kill the cleric who was viewed by the population as “an enemy”.

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He was replying to a cross-examination by the defence counsel for Col. Nteziryayo, Frederic Pacere from Burkina Faso. QAF added that at meeting called by the prefect on June 22, 1994 to introduce a new mayor, the prefect had interceded on behalf of the religious man. The Belgian known as Brother Stani, lived in Mugombwa sector of Muganza commune. He had allegedly sought help from the prefect because his life was in danger. “This man is not an enemy because he did not flee like his countrymen. If you do no want him here, tell me and I will take him with me”, Nteziryayo allegedly said. After the death of former President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, Belgians were viewed with hostility because Rwandan authorities had spread rumours that Belgians were responsible for the president's death. Ten Belgian Blue Helmets (UN peace keeping force) guarding Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana were killed together with the prime minister on April 7, 1994. Most of the cross-examination of QAF took place in closed session. He is the 27th witness called by the prosecution. Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo is jointly tried with the former minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son and militialeader, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, another former prefect of Butare Sylvain Nsabimana and two former mayors: Joseph Kanyabashi and Elie Ndayambaje of Ngoma commune and Muganza communes respectively. The trial is taking place 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''0206e)