Arusha 18 November, 2009 -  The trial of the former Rwandan Deputy Governor, Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, resumed Tuesday with the 17th defence witness testifying before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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The defence is expected to present its last 10 witnesses, including the accused in this session. When it was adjourned on October 13, the defence had already fielded 16 witnesses.

Witness, coded-named ‘'UAO'' to protect his identity for security reasons, said a group of assailants including him searched the accused's vehicle and his home in Gisagara in an effort to find possible weapons and radio communication equipment, on June 1, 1994.

Led in his examination in-chief by counsel Maroufa Diabira of Mauritania the witness alleged that the accused was earlier suspected to be an accomplice of the Inkontanyi (former Rwandan Patriotic Front Rebels now in power in Kigali).

‘'If we found any weapons or radio communication facility he will be killed,'' witness UAO narrated adding that ‘' I felt at peace when we saw nothing because I knew that he was an honest person.''

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.

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