Arusha, 23 October, 2009 (FH)- The trial of genocide-accused  former Rwandan Director in the Ministry of Family and Women Affairs, Jean-Baptiste Gatete, Thursday was adjourned to November 2 after the testimony of the sixth prosecution witness, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The trial had to be adjourned because of late disclosure of some of the materials by the prosecution.

A witness, dubbed ‘'BUY'' to protect her identity and who is a genocide survivor, informed the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday how the accused ordered killings of Tutsi men at Kiziguro Parish in Byumba prefecture, north-eastern Rwanda, on April 11, 1994.

Led in Examination-in-Chief by Ugandan Richard Karegyesa, Acting ICTR Chief of Prosecutions, the witness said that at around 9 am on that day (April 11) the interahamwe militia stormed into the church and forced about 3,000 refugees out.

She told the attentive Chamber that Gatete arrived at the church in the company of soldiers and directed the interahamwe to stop snatching refugees' properties, instead ordered them ‘'to start killing Tutsi men so that when the inkontanyi (former rebels of the Rwandese Patriotic Front-RPF- now in power) arrived at the site, should not see any of them [Tutsi men] alive.''

According to the witness, thereafter large scale killings started.

Meanwhile, the former Secretary General of the party in power before 1994, Joseph Nzirorera, who is prosecuted for his "command responsibility" in the genocide together with two other leaders of the Republican National Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), repudiated, on Monday, the charges brought against him before ICTR.

"Joseph Nzirorera is not guilty of any crime. He will prove his case by presenting his evidence", one of the counsels for the Defence, Nimy Mayidika Ngimbi, declared in his opening statement.

Nzirorera and his two co-defendants, the former President of the MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and the ex-Vice President, Edouard Karemera, are charged with crimes committed by members of their party. The Prosecution has indicted them for their "command responsibility" as top officials of the MRND, the party in power under President Juvenal Habyarimana.

The trial was adjourned on Thursday to Monday after the testimony of the second defence witness.

Joseph Nzirorera is the second leader of the MRND, after Vice-President Karemera, to present his case before the ICTR. As for the ex-President of the former ruling party, who had been absent from the proceedings for medical reasons, he attended the trial for the first time in over a year.

In another development, the Trial Chamber II Thursday adjourned the prosecution case against the former Rwandan Minister for Planning, Augustin Ngirabatware to January 25, 2010, after hearing a total of six witnesses.

Prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity the defendant pleaded not guilty. He is accused of having used public funds to finance the activities of the notorious Interahamwe militiamen.


© Hirondelle News Agency