Arusha, January 21, 2010 (FH) - Two more defence witnesses Thursday affirmed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that genocide-accused former Rwandan businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga was in Ndera, Kigali Rural, on 15th April, 1994 defying prosecution argument that the suspect was supervising demolition of Nyange Church, some 100 kilometres away in western Rwanda.

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The two who testified Thursday included the soldier who escorted the accused to Ndera, Titien Ndaberetse, and one of the children of the Kanyarukiga's neighbour, Henriette Mutoneshwa, a 26-year-old girl now living as a refugee in France.

The church demolition on 16th April, 1994 killed about 2,000 ethnic Tutsis who were trapped inside. 

On Wednesday, Mutoneshwa's mother-Xaverina Muhayimana-- affirmed that she handed over her two children for evacuation to Kanyarukiga on 16th April, 1994 morning.

She asserted that the accused stayed for a night only in Ndera.

The former Rwandan army soldier, Ndaberetse, who lives in exile in Brazzaville, Congo, claimed that his commander at Gitarama Camp assigned him to escort the accused to his home in Ndera following the latter's request for protection.

‘'My [Camp] Commander introduced me to Kanyarukiga and asked me to escort him [accused] to Ndera...we started our journey at around 9 am [on 15th April]'', he claimed, adding that they reached the destination soon after mid-day.

After spending a night at Ndera, he said, they left the next day with Kanyarukiga and his family members, which included children, and headed for Gitarama.

He claimed that they arrived late in the evening during examination- in-chief by Canadian David Jacobs.

However, during cross-examination by Holo Makwaia, the soldier stated he was unable to remember neither his force number nor when he passed out his military training. He denied that he has fabricated the story to defend the suspect.

Ms Mutoneshwa in her examination-in-chief affirmed that she, and her younger brother then eight-year-old, travelled with the accused and his family on the 16th April to Gitarama and arrived late in the evening.

A protected witness, identified only as ‘'KG45'' started her testimony on Thursday afternoon.

During the start of the trial on August 31, last year, the prosecution described Kanyarukiga as having committed one of worst crimes when he directed demolition of a church in Nyange during the height of 1994 killings. 

Kanyarukiga has pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution completed its case on September 17 last year after fielding eleven witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency