Montreal, 9 April 2008 (FH) - The five women who stated in Montreal to have been raped by Desire Munyaneza, a Rwandan refugee on trial in Canada for the past year, had alleged the same claim against Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, a militia leader on trial before the ICTR, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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"Insofar as it preserves their anonymity, yes, I confirm the information", Richard Perras, a lawyer of Munyaneza told Hirondelle Agency.

Son of a shopkeeper in Butare, southern Rwanda, and Munyaneza arrived in Canada in 1997 with a forged Cameroonian passport.

Mr. Munyaneza, 41, has pleaded not guilty to the seven counts of the indictment --two for genocide, two for crimes against humanity and three for war crimes. He has been on trial before the Superior Court of Quebec since March 2007.

According to witnesses called by the Crown (the prosecution), Munyaneza allegedly directed a network of Interahamwe militiamen in Butare in company Shalom Ntahobali, son of the minister for the family, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko., who is also on trial before ICTR in Arusha.

Mr Ntahobali and his mother have been on trial alongside four others since 2001 in the so called "Butare Trial", the oldest trial at the ICTR.

The five women told Judge Andre Denis that Munyaneza repeatedly raped them; two of them specifying that the abuse took place in the residence of the accused, where they were imprisoned.

However, the lawyers for Munyaneza, who have already worked at the ICTR, in particular within the framework of the Butare Trial, pointed out to the five Rwandan women that they never spoke of Munyaneza during the trial of Shalom Ntahobali, where they had testified at length.

One of them had answered that she had never been questioned on this subject.

The Canadian court will hear starting next week from defence witnesses in Rwanda. The trial could last a month then will move to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The next appearances in Quebec are not expected before mid-June.

A judgment is not expected before the end of the year.


© Hirondelle News Agency