Arusha, 15 May 2009 (FH) - The trial of former Rwandan sub-prefect Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, accused of genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) continued this week. So far eight witnesses have already testified out of the expected 20.

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A witness on Thursday, code-named "BAW" to protect his identity, alleged that the accused, who was sub-prefect of Gisagara, southern Rwanda in 1994, had incited massacres in 1994 by promising important rewards to those who would have killed the biggest number of ethnic Tutsis.

"He said that the bodies (of the Tutsis killed) were to be destroyed to prevent satellites from photographing them", added BAW, alleging that he was hidden near the place where was the former administrative official.

BAW will be cross-examined by the defence on Monday.

The former sub-prefect, who has claimed his innocence, was arrested on 16 October 2007 in Carcassonne, in the south-west of France, on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the ICTR on 21 September of the same year.

His trial began last week before a chamber presided by Pakistani Judge, Khalida Rashid Khan.

Meanwhile, a Rwandan refugee in Belgium defended Monday before the UN Court the former Vice-President of former presidential party, Edouard Karemera, describing him as a man who "preached unity".

"He preached solidarity and unity. Karemera always told people to help each other. He never preached discrimination, never, never", stated Agnes Mukarugomwa, a former member of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND).

"In the MRND meetings, Karemera called to work and to unite", affirmed Mukarugomwa, who testified via videoconference from The Hague, The Netherlands.

Next week, the former vice-president of the MRND, who has been calling his witnesses for already more than a year, was himself awaited on the stand to give his version of the facts.

His testimony is expected to last two weeks.

The proceedings in the case began on 19 September 2005. The prosecutor rested his case on 4 December 2007

In another development, the defence continued for the second week running to present its witnesses in the trial of the former Rwandan military officer, Lieutenant Colonel Ephrem Setako, charged for genocide and crimes against humanity.

However, most of the time, the testimonies are heard in closed sessions.

The defence is led by American by, Prof. Lennox Hinds. The prosecution is led by Nigerian Ifeoma Ojemini Okali.

Lt. Col Setako is facing six charges including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. He denied the charges.


© Hirondelle News Agency