Arusha, 4 September 2009 (FH) - A prosecution witnesses in the genocide case against the former Rwandan businessman, Gaspard Kanyarukiga, 64, claimed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Thursday that the accused celebrated with beers and wine shortly after the Nyange Catholic Parish in Kivumo Commune, Kibuye prefecture, was demolished by assailants on April 16, 1994, at the height of the 1994 genocide.

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The third witness only known as ‘'CBK'' to protect his identity, explained that he witnessed the accused Kanyarukiga consulting with several authorities at Nyange Church, including Priest Athanase Seromba (already serving life imprisonment after being convicted for the offence by ICTR), Fulgence Kayishema (police inspector) and others, and later ordered that the church, which allegedly housed about 2000 Tutsi refugees, be attacked and demolished.

‘'After demolition, the assailants went to rest whereas the authorities entered into the Presbyterian to celebrate by drinking beers and wine,'' CBK who was being led in his examination-in-chief by prosecution attorney, Althea Alexis told the Chamber.

Kanyarukiga is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination). He has pleaded innocent to the charges. The trial started August 31.

Meanwhile, a total of eight witnesses testified this week in defence of Yusuf Munyakazi and the trial has been adjourned to next Monday. Seventeen more defence witnesses are expected to give their evidences. The prosecution rested its case on June 4, after fielding 12 witnesses.

Two defence witnesses, including a Roman Catholic Priest, Fr. Thomas Nahimana, Wednesday denied involvement of the oldest detainee at the ICTR, Munyakazi, 74, into the killings which took place in Mibilizi, Nyamasheke and Shangi parishes in Cyangugu prefecture, western Rwanda, during the 1994 massacres.

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

Munyakazi was arrested in May 2004 in 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).


© Hirondelle News Agency