07.09.10 - ICTR/NDAHIMANA - NDAHIMANA SHOT AT THE CHURCH'S CLOCK TO START OFF THE KILLINGS (WITNESS)

Arusha, September 7, 2010 (FH) -The second prosecution witness in the trial of former mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), Grégoire Ndahimana, Tuesday admitted before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he was among persons who attacked and killed Tutsis at Nyange Parish on April 15, 1994.
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It is alleged that during the attack over 2000 Tutsis who had sought refuge at the parish were killed. The prosecution is accusing Ndahimana of planning the massacre jointly with others, including genocide-convict, Father Athanase Seromba, who has since been sentenced to life imprisonment and genocide-suspect still at large, Fulgence Kayishema.

The witness code named CBT to protect his identity, who was imprisoned for eight years, after pleading guilty of taking part in the massacre before a Gacaca court (a semi traditional court in Rwanda), narrated that on the material day he went to Nyange Church in response to a call by Kayishema, former inspector of judicial police in Kivumu Commune.

"On arrival I found all communal leaders were there giving instructions. Ndahimana was also present. He was addressing his subordinates. He was angry and furious," the witness told Trial Chamber III presided over by Cameroon Judge Florence Rita Arrey.

According to the witness, he saw Ndahimana taking a gun from a soldier and shot at the church's clock tower to give a signal to assailants to start off the killing spree. He said that the attackers killed the refugees using traditional weapons and grenades.

"One Theophile Rukara, a soldier, threw a grenade onto a group of refugees, killing several of them on the spot," he alleged, adding that as other survivors retreated to the church, the assailants followed them and attempted to blow up the building using petrol fuel and dynamite explosives, but failed.

The trial continues Wednesday. The prosecution alleges that Ndahimana was responsible for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the Tutsi population between April 6 and 20, 1994.

Born in 1952, Ndahimana 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.

FK/NI/GF

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