Arusha, April 18, 2011 (FH) - Former Governor of Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), Clement Kayishema, Monday admitted before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) having not supported Rwandan Mayor Grégoire Ndahimana when he sought his assistance following attacks of Tutsi refugees at a church in his commune in 1994.

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Kayishema, a genocide-convict, told a Trial Chamber presided over by Judge Florence Rita Arrey that he spoke to Ndahimana, former mayor of Kivumu Commune, on April 15, 1994, at his prefecture office. Ndahimana briefed him on the situation at the Nyange Church and sought for reinforcement of gendarmes to control such attacks.

"I had nothing to give him. Even the few gendarmes who were in Kibuye, three quarters of them had left to the front in Kigali. He (Ndahimana) went away frustrated and he was uncomfortable because I did not meet his request," said Kayishema, currently serving his life imprisonment sentence in Mali, following his conviction of genocide.

He was testifying in French for Ndahimana at the resumption of defence hearing. Kayishema alleged further that he could not follow up what was going on at the parish because he had no vehicles and fuel and even telephone connections had been cut off.

Asked by the defendant's co-counsel, Wilfred Nderitu, whether Ndahimana was in position to stop what was happening at Nyange Church, the witness quickly responded, "he could do nothing given the scope of assailants who were there."

The witness could not, however, account the number of assailants who were at the church as opposed to Tutsis who had taken refuge at the area.

Cross-examined by prosecutor Holo Makwaia, Kayishema admitted that on April 11, 1994, Ndahimana went to the prefecture office to seek for reinforcement and was given three gendarmes, who were deployed to guard the Nyange Church.

The trial continues Tuesday. The prosecution alleges that more than 2000 Tutsi refugees were killed at the church when it was attacked on April 15 and 16, 1994. Ndahimana, who is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination, as a crime against humanity, is accused of planning the massacres jointly with other officials.

They include parish priest Athanase Seromba, currently serving life imprisonment sentence for his involvement, businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for similar involvement and Judicial Police Inspector of the commune Fulgence Kayishema, who is still at large.

Ndahimana was arrested in the DRC on August 10, 2009. He was transferred to 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