Arusha, 26 November, 2008 (FH) - The last of the six accused in the so called "Butare Trial", former Rwandan Mayor, Elie Ndayambaje, Wednesday strongly denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that ethnic-Tutsis were targeted during the April-July, 1994 killing-spree in Rwanda.

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"I am not in agreement with your proposition because there were also Hutus and foreigners who were killed during the massacres. The answer is simply No," Ndayambaje, who was seemingly irritated, insisted to prosecutor, Medeleine Schwartz, during cross examination.

Earlier, Schwartz suggested to the accused that ethnic-Tutsis were targeted for extermination and wanted the defendant to respond to it, but the answer could not outright forthcoming until the Presiding Judge of Trial Chamber II, William Sekule, intervened and ordered the accused to offer a much clearer and precise response.

"We want a clearer answer. Do you agree or disagree with the prosecutor's suggestion?" asked the Tanzanian presiding Judge, prompting the defendant to respond: "I do not agree with the suggestion."

Ndayambaje, who is the last witness to defend himself before the Tribunal in the case, further explained to the court that he lost a Hutu brother-in- law in Kigali city during the genocide not withstanding the fact that gun shots did not distinguish Hutus from Tutsis.

According to the prosecution, ethnic-Tutsis were targeted during the 100 days of the intensive killings in Rwanda between April and July 1994, which according to the UN, resulted into the death of about 800,000 people , mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Other defendants jointly charged with Ndayambaje are: Former Minister for Family 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.

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


© Hirondelle News Agency