Arusha, 28 January 2009 (FH) - Six Rwandan witnesses who came to Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to testify for defence of genocide-accused former Rwandan acting Interior Minister during the 1994 killings, Calixte Kalimanzira, have complained that they have not been paid  their entitled subsistence allowance for now almost about a week from the UN Court.

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French lead defence Counsel, Arthur Vercken, told the Chamber Tuesday that six of his defence witnesses have not received their Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) making their stay difficult in terms of getting essential services, especially food in the hotel they have been booked.

‘'It is abnormal that these witnesses have been left alone without means of feeding themselves,'' alleged Vercken before a three bench-judge presided over by the Tribunal's President, Justice Dennis Byron.

Deputy Registrar, Everard O'Donnell, summoned by the bench to  clarify on the matter, claimed that the witnesses were from the first day informed to sign for their meals at the hotel they have been booked until they receive their allowances. However, Counsel Vercken quickly refuted the claim, saying that there was no signing facility available at the hotel for the witnesses.

According to Vercken, each unprotected witness was entitled to 130 US dollars per day.

Justice Byron has directed the Registry to ensure that the matter was addressed satisfactorily.

Later, the trial proceeded with the prosecution cross examining defence witness, Albert Barikwinshi.

During his testimony, the witness who was a detainee at Karubanda prison in Kigali city claimed that, in year 2000, he attended a meeting held in the prison intended to fabricate charges against Kalimanzira.

The witness told the prosecuting counsel, Christine Graham, that during the time in question he was a detainee in-charge of colleagues from his native commune of Gishamvu in the Association known as Ukuri (The Truth) which dealt with influencing genocide detainees to plead guilty.

The defence expects to field 19 witnesses during the session, scheduled to end on February 5. 

The most serious accusations against Kalimanzira relates to the role he played in the massacre of thousands of Tutsis who had sought refuge on Kabuye Hill, in the sub-prefecture of Gisagara ,Butare prefecture, towards the end of April 1994.


© Hirondelle News Agency