Arusha, September 7, 2011(FH) - Three prosecution witnesses before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday denounced Captain Ildephonse Nizeyimana's defence of alibi, reasserting that the accused was in Butare prefecture, Western Rwanda, during genocide between April 26 and May 26, 1994.

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The trio was testifying in the so called "Rebuttal Case" to challenge the defence of alibi for Nizeyimana, suggesting that during the period in question he was at Mata in Gikongoro prefecture (South Rwanda), conducting military training for new recruits.

Corporal Fulgence Rwirahira, a former soldier with the Rwandan army, who worked as military radio operator at the Non-Commissioned Officers School (ESO), first explained that during the period in question Nizeyimana was at ESO "coordinating military operations in the whole region of Butare." The witness alleged that he saw Nizeyimana for the last time at ESO at the end of May 1994. According to him, the accused was then requested to move to Mata to train new recruits. As radio operator, he said he had received two telegrams for Nizeyimana's transfer within that month.

The second prosecution witness, Cosma Twagirayezu, was a night watchman at the Mata Tea Factory in Gikongoro. He alleged that he saw Nizeyimana for the first time at Mata Tea Factory towards the end of May, 1994. He described as "false and even a lie" the suggestion that the accused arrived at the factory on April 26, 1994 and stayed there continuously until May 26, 1994.

Last witness, a housewife named Antoinette Bazimenyera, claimed that she was hiding with her family at the residence of Nizeyimana in Butare within the period in dispute. According to her, she took refuge at the house effective from April 20, 1994 after the start of killings in Butare and left the place after one month and half. She claimed that Nizeyimana was in Butare during the whole time.

The hearing continues Thursday when defence counsel for the defendant will cross-examine the witnesses. According to the indictment, Nizeyimana was in Butare between April and May 1994, allegedly ordering, supervising and organizing massacres of Tutsis in various places in the region.


© Hirondelle News Agency