Arusha, October 18, 2011 (FH) - A sister-in-law of Rwandan ex-Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware Tuesday appeared as the twenty-eighth defence witness in his genocide trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Winifred Kabuga Musabeyezu notably backed her brother-in-law's defence of alibi.

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She told the court that she was with Ngirabatware and his close family on April 7 and 8, 1994, when  the prosecutor alleges he was in his native commune of Nyamyumba (Gisenyi prefecture, northern Rwanda) organizing and overseeing genocide.

However the witness, who was seven months pregnant at the time, said the family took refuge in the Presidential Guard camp in Kigali shortly after midnight on April 6, 1994, along with other personalities. She said they fled again to the French embassy around 11 AM on April 8, after heavy gunfire broke out around the Presidential Guard camp. Ms Musabeyezu told the court that she was with Ngirabatware in both locations.

The witness is the youngest sister of the defendant's wife, Félicité.  They are both daughters of the ICTR's most wanted fugitive, Félicien Kabuga.

Ngirabatware is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He is accused of being one of the main instigators of the massacres of Tutsis in his native prefecture of Gisenyi.

The accused was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007 and has been in ICTR custody since October 8, 2008. His trial began on September 22, 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency