Arusha, 20 April 2009 (FH) - The prosecution claimed Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that six accused persons, including a mother and her son, supported the mass killings of mostly ethnic Tutsis in Butare, southern Rwanda, during the 1994 genocide.

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‘'The Butare six heeded the call of then Interim President (Theodore Sindikubwabo) to exterminate ethnic Tutsis[in Butare],'' Holo Makwaia, told the three-bench judges when presenting prosecution's oral arguments.

Citing an example, she said four defendants including, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, then Minister for Family and Women Affairs-and the only woman arrested for genocide before the UN Court;  ex-Butare Governors Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo;  Joseph Kanyabashi, ex- Mayor of Ngoma Commune, all fully attended and applauded a meeting on 19 April, 1994, in which the interim president incited killings of Tutsis.

During the speech, Sindikubwabo exhorted the crowd to fight Inyenzi (cockroaches, meaning Tutsis), stressed the Tanzanian trial attorney.

The other accused, who, however, did not participate in that meeting, but actively participated in the planned killing-spree later, were Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, alleged Interahamwe militia leader and son of Nyiramasuhuko, and  Elie Ndayambaje, a former Mayor of Muganza commune.

‘'Pauline was in charge of pacification campaign which meant killing the Tutsis,'' Makwaia charged, adding: ‘' Shalom was not very far from following his mother's foot steps as he was a killer and rapist.''

Another prosecuting counsel, Madeleine Schwarz, who dwelt specifically on Nyiramasuhuko's participation, said that the defendant was instrumental in giving orders to his son, Shalom, Interahamwe militia and soldiers to abduct, rape and ultimately kill Tutsi girls, women and men.

‘'Instead of protecting the desperate families [ as designated to her ministry], Pauline decided to exterminate the families,'' Schwarz argued.

She cited several prosecution witnesses to support her arguments. They all, according to her, testified how abductions, rapes and  killings occurred, including at the prefecture office, Butare University Teaching Hospital, Anglican Primary School (EER) and roadblocks.

Another prosecuting counsel, Lansana Dumbuya, pointed out how Shalom raped Tutsi women and later invited the notorious interahamwe militiamen to continue the serial rapes.

The attorney, quoting a protected witness dubbed "FX", stated how the accused abducted a Tutsi girl from a road block near his house, dragged her to a nearby bridge, raped and finally hacked her to death with an axe.

 The prosecution will continue with closing arguments Tuesday.

 The trial , the longest and the largest, opened in June 2001.


© Hirondelle News Agency