Arusha, September 6, 2010 (FH) - The prosecution Monday commenced its case against former mayor of Kivumu Commune (Kibuye prefecture, Western Rwanda) Grégoire Ndahimana, claiming that the accused was liable for genocide, complicity in genocide and extermination due to the role he played in the massacre of Tutsis at Nyange Parish in April 1994.

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"Ndahimana is liable as principal offender. He was not only instrumental of the killings, but also led by examples. He planned, ordered, instigated, supervised and signaled the killings at Nyange Parish," Senior Trial Attorney Holo Makwaia told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) when presenting her opening  statement.

According to the prosecutor, being a person with supreme authority, representing Rwandan government in the commune, the accused had the responsibility to protect Tutsis who sought refuge at the parish hopping that they would be safe and the accused would stop the killings, but he "mingled with killers and gave them instructions to execute the massacres."

Makwaia informed the Tribunal that during the trial she would call two types of witnesses, including perpetrators, who would account how they worked and executed the massacres under the instruction of the accused. Other witnesses, she said, would be survivors of the killings, who would also reveal the horror and terror they went through at the parish.

The first prosecution witness to be called code named "CBS" to protect his identity was a survivor of the killings at the parish. He alleged that the entire government of Kivumu Commune under Ndahimana's authority shifted to the parish on April 15, 1994 and supervised the attacks.

"There was a wide scale of attacks. It was Ndahimana's group which issued instructions to attackers. They were there to kill us," he said.

The witness claimed that attackers used stones, machetes, grenades and fire arms. According to him, of over 2000 refugees gathered at the parish, approximately only 20 of them survived.

The witness who arrived at the parish on April 11, 1994 managed to escape on the forth day at night and went to Gitarama prefecture, central Rwanda where it was relatively calm.  

The prosecution alleged that the accused planned the massacres at the parish jointly with genocide-convict, Father Athanase Seromba, who has since been sentenced to life imprisonment and genocide-suspect still at large, Fulgence Kayishema.   

Ndahimana, born in 1952, was arrested on August 10, 2009 at Kachuga Camp in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He was transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha on August 21, 2009. He made his initial appearance on September 28, 2009 and pleaded not guilty to all the charges.


© Hirondelle News Agency