Arusha, 25 November, 2008 (FH) - Former Rwandan Mayor, Elie Ndayambaje on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity alongside five other accused before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Tuesday denied that he was an influential personality despite the fact that he owned two business enterprises and a member of several boards in his commune.

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Ndayambaje who is the last accused to take the witness stand for his own defence in the six-man trial popularly known as "Butare Trial" was being cross examined by the prosecution led by Medline Schwarz.

Earlier, the defendants conceded that though he resigned as Mayor of Muganza commune and went for postgraduate studies at the National University of Rwanda between October, 1992 and April, 1994, he owned a Printing press and Rice Husking plant and also was a board member of several institutions in his commune.

"Let us not mix up things," Ndayambaje told Schwarz adding that "those things have nothing to do with someone influence in the society."

He said after all in his postgraduate class he was not the only one running business, giving an example of his class mate who had a very successful business in Kigali city.

Part of the allegations against the defendant is that he used his influence in the community to incite the population to take up arms against ethnic-Tutsis.

Other defendants jointly charged with Ndayambaje are: Former Minister for Familiy and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali; former Governors Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo; and Ex-Mayor of Ngoma commune, Joseph Kanyabashi.

Meanwhile, the conclusion of the trial was likely to be delayed further following the Chambers decision to grant in part the defence of Kanyabashi to recall prosecution witness dubbed "QCB" to protect his identity. The court was expected to complete the trial stage this week after the testimony of Ndayambaje.

The order issued on November 20, 2008 was meant to re-examine the witness on specific contradictions made during his previous testimony against Kanyabashi.

All six have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity.

The trial, which commenced in June 2001, continues Wednesday.


© Hirondelle News Agency