02.11.10 - ICTR/NDAHIMANA - I COMMITTED SEVERAL ATROCITIES WITHOUT BEING PROSECUTED, CLAIMS WITNESS

Arusha, November 2, 2010 (FH) -The seventh prosecution witness in the trial of former Rwandan mayor Grégoire Ndahimana Tuesday admitted before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to have killed Tutsis and committed several other atrocities in his native Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), without being prosecuted by the authority.
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"What I did in Kivumu Commune is rather immense. I now have a peaceful mind before the Almighty God. I am ready to say anything. I went and killed this and that. I committed several atrocities and there was no prosecution about that," claimed the witness code named CBR to protect his identity.

He was being cross-examined by Ndahimana's co-counsel Wilfred Nderitu, who asked him to account how many Tutsis he had killed before going to Nyange church on April 16, 1994 to launch an attack against several refugees gathered at the area following a wide spread of massacres in the commune.

Presiding Judge Florence Rita Arrey was forced to intervene as the witness was seemingly irritated and became excited, asking him to cool down. "Can you calm down and speak slowly. Do not get excited," the judge told the witness. The witness claimed that he was closer to the authority and had the right of doing anything.

"I drew closer to the authority. I did many things," the witness testified when answering a question by the counsel whether he had participated in the attack of Tutsis at the church. The witness added, "I took part in the attacks when I arrived between 6.00 am and 7.00 am. I killed a number of refugees."

The witness admitted further that he killed two Tutsis before going to the church that morning to accompany others in the attack. The prosecution alleges in the indictment, among others, that Ndahimana failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such kind of acts or punish perpetrators of the crimes.

According to the witness, he was arrested in July 1994 when the RPF took power. The witness explained further that he confessed in Kigali on the killings of the two people and was jailed 10 years before the sentence was enhanced to 20 years after dismissal of his appeal.

The trial continues Wednesday. Ndahimana is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination as crime against humanity. Between April 6 and 20, 1994, it is alleged, he was responsible for killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to Tutsis.

Ndahimana allegedly planned the massacres at Nyange Parish jointly with parish priest Athanase Seromba, prominent businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga and Judicial Police Inspector of the commune Fulgence Kayishema who is in the wanted list to be indicted at ICTR.

Kanyarukiga was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment on Monday for the role he played in the massacres at the church, while Seromba was jailed for life by the Appeals Chamber for similar involvement. In these massacres, more than 2000 Tutsi refugees were killed.

Born in 1952, Ndahimana was arrested on August 10, 2009 in the 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. His trial took off on September 6.

FK/NI/ER/GF

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