Arusha, 19 May 2009 (FH) - An ethnic Tutsi woman, who survived the 1994 genocide but lost all members of her family, Tuesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that neither Tutsis nor any other Rwandan was killed at the Mukamira Military Camp in Nkuli commune ,Ruhengeri , Southern Rwanda.

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The protected defence witness code-named "NEC" to conceal her identity for security reasons, was testifying in defence of the former Rwandan military officer, Lt. Col. Ephrem Setako, who is facing six charges of genocide and crimes against humanity at the UN Tribunal.

Lt. Col Setako is the former Director of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Defence.

‘'Rampaging Hutus are killing Tutsis outside [the Camp] so Tutsis should not leave the Camp ,'' NEC quoted Camp Commandant, Major Laurent Bizabarimana, as having stated during a meeting within the camp in mid-April, 1994

Some prosecution witnesses, including protected witness dubbed "SLA", testified before the Chamber that the defendant had ordered the notorious Interhamwe militia to hunt and kill Tutsis after late April meeting addressed by the accused, and allegedly the killings shortly took place at Mukamira Military Camp.

According to  "NEC", who is married to a Tutsi soldier and lived in the camp since April 15, 1992 until they fled in early July, 1994, to Gisenyi, there were no massacres against Tutsis, though she admitted, that she had heard about the killings taking place outside the Camp.

‘'There were no massacres against Tutsis which took place inside the Camp. I was there, and in fact, I did not even hear or see any one being killed,'' the witness affirmed.

She went on narrating that other Tutsis from Kigali, and the neighboring communities, forced inside the Camp when the massacres escalated on April 7, 1994 after death of President Juvenal Habyarimana, and she personally knew 15 of them.

She added that the Camp was later taken over by advancing Inkotanyi (former Rwandan Patriotic Front Rebels-RPF, currently in power).

However, during cross-examination by prosecuting counsel, Christiana Fomenky, on whether she could possibly know if any training was taking place or any other military operations underway in the camp compound, the witness responded:  ‘'It was impossible for me to know about it.''

The 14th defence witness concluded her testimony paving way for another protected defence witness code-named ‘'NCB'' to give his evidence. The trial continues on Wednesday.

Defence case started on May 4, and is expected to continue until end of the month before going into an adjournment.


© Hirondelle News Agency