Arusha, 25 September 2007 (FH) - Musician Simon Bikindi was never accused at the Gacacas courts, stated a witness Tuesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

1 min 13Approximate reading time

Prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity by the ICTR, Bikindi, 53, has been presenting his defence case since Monday.

On Tuesday, a witness for the defence stated to have attended last January the proceedings of a Gacaca court in Rugerero (northern Rwanda) during which the case of a victim whose death has been attributed to Bikindi by the prosecutor of the ICTR had been brought up.

The witness reported that before the Gacaca court, that it is a person named Kabulimbo who had been referred to as the killer.

The indictment against Bikindi indicates that at the beginning of July 1994, two militiamen following his order killed a Tutsi woman named Ancilla and her four-year-old child and buried them in a shallow grave.

"Simon Bikindi stated that she (Ancilla) belonged to the group that attacked Hutus and was to be taken along (i.e. killed)", the document adds.

Bikindi has pled not guilty. The prosecutor called 17 witnesses in this case.

The defence witness stated that the charges against Bikindi were untrue. He indicated that the majority of the witnesses for the prosecution are convicts "who say what passes through their minds".

He also qualified the Bikindi case, in progress at the ICTR since 18 September 2006, as a "political trial".

The defence witness stated that before the Gacacas, where the witnesses know that they can constantly being contradicted by the audience, "I never intended to speak about him within the framework of the massacres".

"Bikindi was never mentioned except for the fact that he was a renowned musician. Besides the fact of his fame, in Rwanda I never intended to speak about him within the framework of the massacres or within any other framework ", he concluded.

© Hirondelle News Agency