Arusha, 7 September, 2009 (FH) - Two other defence witnesses in a genocide case against the oldest detainee at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Yusuf Munyakazi, denied that the accused in the company of interahmwe militia from his native commune of Bugarama went to Nyamasheke and Shangi parishes in Cyangugu prefecture, to incite and attack Tutsi refugees hosted in the churches in April 1994.

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The defence witnesses, code-named "YCI'' and ‘'MBRE'' to conceal their identities,  insisted in separate occasions that they did not witness the 74 years old man in those churches-- Nyasheke in Kagano commune and Shangi in Gafunzo commune-- as they were both far from Bugarama commune.

‘'I never saw Munyakazi in Shangi parish but I saw Munyakazi in Bugarama where he was doing farming ,'' said defence witness YCI who was being led in examination-in-chief by the accused's Cameroonian co-defence counsel, Barnabe Nekuie on Monday.

The witness, who also admitted that he did not even hear about Munyakazi's presence at Shangi church from other people, said he witnessed a large crowed of attackers around 1500 with guns, grenades and traditional weapons on April 28 or 29 in 1994 arriving from three different directions  around 4. 00 pm attacked and killed refugees in Shangi church, including his own relatives.

‘'They came on foot. They were very many and looked deadly dangerous,'' the witness narrated.

Witness ‘'MBRE'', who elaborated incidence at Nyamasheki parish like the previous witness, denied seeing Munyakazi at the attack allegedly carried at the Parish on April 16, 1994.

‘'I did not see or heard about Munyakazi leading the attackers at Nyamasheke parish,'' the witness told the attentive Chamber.

Last week two other defence witnesses also gave similar evidence denying the accused involvement into the killings at the two churches including that of Mibilizi parish in Cymbogo commune.

The witnesses concluded their testimonies after being crossed examined by prosecution.   

The trial continues on Tuesday. 

Accused for genocide, complicity in the genocide and extermination, Munyakazi, has pleaded his innocence.

He was arrested in May 2004 in east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he pretended to be an Imam, under the name of Mzee Mandevu (literally, the bearded old man in Kiswahili).

The trial began on 22 April, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency