Arusha, 6 November 2007 (FH) - A witness stated Tuesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that Joseph Kanyabashi, former mayor of Ngoma, the commune which hosts the university city of Butare (southern Rwanda), was not a man to incite the genocide of Tutsis.

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"Kanyabashi had a Tutsi wife and everyone knew it; he was also treated as an accomplice"(of the former Tutsi led rebellion of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, currently in power), stated the witness.

Designated by the code name D-2-13-0, the man indicated that the defendant had helped several Tutsis during the misery of April to July 1994.

He also refuted testimonies for the prosecution according to which Kanyabashi would have incited the genocide in a message spread by loud-speakers in the town of Butare.

"These are lies, it never happened. I never heard this message and nobody ever spoke to me about it", testified D-2-13-0.

"If such a message had been spread, and by loud-speakers to that, I would have learned of it", explained the witness, stressing that he had remained, for the entirety of this period, at the university hospital of Butare.

At the end of his questioning by Canadian lawyer Simone Santerre, he assured to have come "to help the judges know the truth on what occurred in Butare in 1994".

His testimony was stopped several times by the objections of lawyers of the alleged former militia leader Arsène Shalom Ntahobali and two from his mother, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Minister for the Family and Women's Development.

A conflict of interest opposes the latter to the former mayor, in this trial where three others appear as defendants: former prefects of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo; as well as the former mayor of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje.

Accused of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, all have pleaded not guilty.

After the Kanyabashi's witnesses, Ndayambaje will call his; he will be the last to present his defence case in a trial that began in June 2001.


© Hirondelle News Agency