Kigali, 18 June 2009 (FH) - The testimonies finished on Wednesday in Kigali in the trial of a Rwandan doctor, Marcel Gakire, accused of genocide, whereas he is presenting himself as a victim of the massacres committed against Tutsis in 1994.

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The verdict is awaited this week-end.

According to the indictment, Dr. Gakire, who appears before a popular gacaca court in Nyamirambo, in the Rwandan capital, is prosecuted for "organization and supervision of the genocide, execution of the genocide, installation and supervision of road blocks, complicity in murders".

On Wednesday, the last witness stated that the defendant was himself a Tutsi and that he was threatened, in 1994, like all the other members of his ethnic group.

"I know him well. His father is Tutsi and his mother is Hutu. During the genocide, he spontaneously fled his residence (...) thereafter, he was a victim of a grenade attack", stated Sudi Buregeya, imprisoned for his participation in the genocide.

The witness was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of committing crimes in Nyamirambo, at the same road blocks mentioned in the trial of the doctor. Prosecution witnesses alleged that these road blocks of death were controlled by Dr. Gakire.

Questioned on Wednesday on his ethnicity, the doctor, in his fifties, confirmed Buregeya's testimony.  "Indeed, I am Tutsi, but I was waiting for a favourable occasion to say it", he indicated to the president of the bench, without, however, convincing all the victims.

"The affiliation to the Tutsi ethnic group is completely invented, all the neighbours know it", replied one of the victims having previously testified for the prosecution.

For the survivors, a fact admitted by the defendant himself is at the very least surprising. During this trial, he acknowledged that he moved as he pleased, circulating in the neighbourhoods while the massacres were going on, which a Tutsi would not have dared, the prosecution witnesses reminded.

Still according to certain victims, at all the road blocks in the Gatare cell, Tutsis were killed or saved only at the directives of Marcel Gakire.

As in the preceding hearings, the defendant claimed his innocence, while admitting, nevertheless, having held a road block to, has he says, save his Tutsi wife.

Initially tried by a conventional court, he was sentenced to life in prison for the same facts.

An amendment to the law promulgated last year referred his case before the gacaca courts.

According to the president of the bench, Mister Musekano, the new judgement is awaited this week-end.


© Hirondelle News Agency