Arusha, January 27, 2011 (FH) - A prosecution witness before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Thursday accused Captain Ildephonse Nizeyimana of playing crucial role in the massacre of 150 Tutsi refugees, including orphans in South Rwanda during genocide.

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The witness code-named TQ, who was testifying through video link from The Hague, claimed that the accused and other soldiers supervised an attack launched on April 29, 1994, at the Groupe Scolaire in Butare town where several Tutsis were selected and killed later at Rwasave Valley.

"The attack was supervised by soldiers. There were soldiers like Capt. Nizeyimana and Second Lieutenant (Modeste) Gatsinzi," said the witness in examination in chief led by Senior Trial Attorney Drew White.

According to the witness, he was at the Groupe Scolaire taking care of a group of Red Cross children who had left Kigali to seek refuge at the school. He explained that the soldiers and many other militiamen arrived at the area early in the morning when refugees were taking breakfast.

"The soldiers assembled around Capt. Nizeyimana and Gatsinzi. They held a mini-summit in a form of semi circle. I saw the soldiers being deployed," the witness claimed. He added, "The soldiers came down particularly Gatsinzi leading his colleagues and started sorting out the refugees. They started hitting people and causing terror among the refugees."

Prior to the sorting exercise, the witness went on, other militiamen had started leading people out of their dormitories to a playing ground where they were forced to sit down. The witness claimed that he went at the playing ground to protect the children, but he was also forced to sit down like anybody else.

"The soldiers selected the refugees on their ethnicity by their looking and identities and took them down the hill to a veranda of a house near the Groupe Scolaire entrance. They forced them to lie face down and beat them up. They were later loaded in a lorry and taken to Rwasave (Valley) where they were killed," the witness further narrated.

Asked by the judges how many refugees were killed on that day, the witness responded, "We lost 150 people". After his examination in chief, the defence was supposed to cross-examine the witness.

The trial continues Friday. Capt. Nizeyimana is charged with genocide, extermination, murder and rape. He was arrested in Uganda on October 5, 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.


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