Arusha, May 3, 2011 (FH) - The trial for former Rwandan Mayor Grégoire Ndahimana, which resumed Tuesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was, once again, adjourned to May 9, 2011, as the presiding judge was traveling for other official matters outside Arusha, the headquarters of the Tribunal.

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"We are not sitting until next Monday (May 9) because I am traveling tomorrow (Wednesday) for other official matters," the Presiding Judge Florence Rita Arrey said after the Tribunal had received the evidence of two defence witnesses codenamed ND17 and ND35 to protect their identities.

Before the adjournment, witness ND17 had admitted during his testimony that communal policemen, who were under the authority of Ndahimana, were involved in the massacres of Tutsis at a church in Western Rwanda in April 1994.

The witness was answering a question by Prosecutor Holo Makwaia who wanted to know whether policemen under the authority of Ndahimana, former mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture, were involved in killings of Tutsis who took refuge at Nyange Church between April 15 and 16, 1994.

"Yes, the church was attacked and Tutsis were killed," the witness responded in Kinyarwanda during cross-examination session and added, "I do agree that Ndahimana led communal policemen. But during the war the policemen did what they wanted."

On part of witness ND35, most of his evidence was received in closed session.

Ndahimana is charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination, as a crime against humanity. He is accused of planning the massacres at the church jointly with other officials, including father Athanase Seromba, currently serving life imprisonment sentence for his involvement.

Others are businessman Gaspard Kanyarukiga, who was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment for similar involvement and Fulgence Kayishema, former Judicial Police Inspector of the commune, who is still at large.  More than 2000 Tutsi refugees were allegedly killed at the church.

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 denied all the charges.


© Hirondelle News Agency