14.09.10 - ICTR/NDAHIMANA - LAW ENFORCERS BACKED HUTU ASSAILANTS IN KILLING TUTSIS, CLAIMS WITNESS

Arusha, September 14, 2010 (FH) - The fifth prosecution witness in trial of former Rwandan Mayor Grégoire Ndahimana claimed Tuesday that Kivumu Commune policemen and gendarmes backed Hutu assailants to attack and kill Tutsis who sought refuge at Nyange Parish in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda) on April 15, 1994.
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"As we were throwing stones towards attackers in defence, the police armed with firearms turned out and fired on us. The gendarmes also armed with firearms, who came at the church on pretext of defending refugees, worked in conjoint with assailants to attack us," the witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The witness code named CBI to protect his identity alleged further that Kivumu officials, including Ndahimana, his assistant Vedaste Murangwabugabo, former judicial police inspector Fulgence Kayishema, teacher Telesphore Ndugutse and genocide-accused Gaspard Kanyarukiga, witnessed the attacks.

 "They were with parish priest (Athanase Seromba) observing what was going on," led by Jamaican trial attorney Althea Alexis Windsor, the witness said. Seromba is a genocide-convict imprisoned for life for his involvement in the massacre.

According to the indictment, Ndahimana failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or punish the perpetrators. He is also accused of being responsible for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to Tutsi between April 6 and 20, 1994.

The witness, who survived the massacre, added that as a result of such attacks, the highest number of casualties was registered amongst refugees. "There were so many dead bodies. I could not even count them," he claimed.

He claimed that after realizing they were loosing power as result of shooting and grenades explosions he jumped over the wall and went to hide under sacks of beans and woods in the presbytery's kitchen, where he was joined with others before escaping.

The trial continues Wednesday.

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