02.06.07 - BELGIUM/RWANDA - THE WIFE OF NTUYAHAGA CAME TO TESTIFY

Brussels, 2 June 2007 (FH) - Lucie Hakizimana, wife of Bernard Ntuyahaga, appeared on Friday before the Crown Court of Brussels to declare that her husband had nothing to do with several murders committed in his district; he is also accused of partaking in the murders of ten Belgian peacekeepers on 7 April 1994.
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Several witnesses claimed that Ntuyahaga was responsible for several killings that took place in his district of Kyovu the days following the attack on the presidential plane on 6 April 1994. It is in this district that the Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana lived, assassinated on the morning of 7 April 1994; and who the UN peacekeepers ensured the escort.

According to Mrs. Hakizimana, who lives in Denmark, "from 7April, my husband nor longer spent a night at the house; he was at the military camp of Kigali, with the Chief of Defense Staff, 24 hours a day ". Witnesses would have seen soldiers coming and going from their residence to the neighbouring streets where they would kill civilians in their homes. "They are lies. Which soldiers? How would a major have at his home soldiers as bodyguards whereas colonels do not have any? They are fictional stories created after our exile ", she declared.

"I was alone at home with my child", she added, commenting on several testimonies reporting a "environment of festival" at Bernard Ntuyahaga's home on 7 April and on the following days. "It is an invention, there was no reason to celebrate anything seeing that my husband was not there"

Lucie Hakizimana would have been very hostile, according to certain witnesses, with the wives of Justin Niyongera and Emmanuel Nkundabagenzi because they were Tutsis; which would explain the implication of the Rwandan officer in their deaths. "My own mother is a Tutsi-Tutsi, answered Mrs. Hakizimana, I do not see how I was going to reproach that to others"

In spite of many shootings and cries, she stated not to have realized that her neighbours and their families were being killed: "There were many shootings and it was difficult to know from where they were coming. I learned of it only later and I was also afraid", she said. According to her, on 10 April, Bernard Ntuyahaga would have sent a vehicle to get her so that she could go to her sister.

In addition, according to her, her husband spent all of the night of the 6 to the 7 at his place waiting for possible orders by telephone. "The morning, when he was able to telephone, it was said to him that the minibus was being sent to him; it had not come at 7 am as usual". On the way to work, Bernard Ntuyahaga, according to him, would have then embarked the fifteen peacekeepers encountered by chance to leave them at the Kigali camp, where they were lynched.

It was only in October 1995, in a camp in Bukavu (DRC), that her husband would have spoken to her of the UN peacekeepers, after he had learned that an international warrant for his arrest had been issued. He would have said to her "that indeed, he had transported them". "I imagine that we did not speak about it before because we had other problems", she stated.

She also outlined a portrait of Bernard Ntuyahaga, "a suitable husband and a formidable father for whom I thanked the sky; a controlled man who liked peace and who the people said that he did not act like a soldier ".

BF/PB/MM
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