Arusha, January 30, 2012 (FH) - The defence hearing for former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware resumed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday with testimony of a witness via video link from France.

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Leoncie Bongwa, the wife of former Transport and Communications Minister Andre Ntagerura, who was acquitted of genocide charges by ICTR six years ago, supported Ngirabatware's defence of alibi.

She declared that between April 6 and 12, 1994 he never left Kigali after the downing of the plane that killed Rwanda's President Juvénal Habyarimana.

The prosecution has been alleging that between April 6 and 8, 1994, Ngirabatware was in his home prefecture of Gisenyi, North Rwanda, busy distributing rifles, grenades and even inciting the population to kill Tutsis.

Bongwa, who was testifying in French, told the Chamber presided by Judge William Sekule that between the night of April 6 and April 8, 1994 in the morning, she was with Ngirabatware at the Presidential Guard in Kigali.

"When we got there the camp was attacked at night. I saw Ngirabatware frightened.  I was thinking men would be more courageous than women, but he was lamenting and trembling," she went on.

According to the witness, she left the presidential guard in the early afternoon of April 8, 1994 to the French Embassy where she found that Ngirabatware and his family had already arrived.

She narrated that her family and that of Ngirabatware were evacuated from the Embassy on the morning of April 12, 1994 to the airport in Kigali and later airlifted to Bujumbura, Burundi.

The trial continues on Tuesday. Ngirabatware is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide or in the alternative, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.


© Hirondelle News Agency