Arusha, 13 October, 2009 (FH) - The genocide trial of former Rwandan Deputy Governor Dominique Ntawukulilyayo before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was on Tuesday adjourned to November 16 after hearing the 16th defence witness.

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The court plans to hear eight more witnesses, including the accused himself, between November 16 and November 26.

Ntawukulilyayo is charged with genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide in the southern Gisagara sub-prefecture, of which he was the Deputy Governor in 1994. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Defence witness Gerard Ndamage, who was the accused's former neighbour at Gisagara Market, told the Chamber the defendant was powerless to stop massacres in Gisagara in 1994. ‘'What could he have done at that time? It was as if there was no authority,'' Ndamage said in response to questions from lead defence counsel Maroufa Diabira of Mauritania.

The witness, an ethnic Hutu currently living as a refugee in Malawi, also narrated his own story. He said attackers had invaded his home on four separate occasions wanting to kill his Tutsi wife, but that he managed to save her by bribing them with money and property. He said he had narrated the story to the accused but Ntawakulilyayo said there was nothing he could do and therefore "could only advise me to pray and be courageous".

The defence case started on September 23.

The prosecution completed its case after calling 12 witnesses between May 6 and 26.

Ntawukulilyayo was arrested on October 16, 2007 in Carcassonne, south-western France, on the basis of an ICTR arrest warrant.


© Hirondelle News Agency