ARUSHA 17 May 2002 (Internews) The so-called “Butare Trial” for six genocide suspects, the largest before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), resumes on Monday with the prosecution presenting their 11th witness.
The trial is referred to as the “Butare Trial” because all the defendants come from Butare Province, southern Rwanda.
Butare was among the last areas in Rwanda to succumb to violence between April and June 1994. It is estimated that out of 800,000 people killed in the genocide, approximately 26,000 ethnic Tutsi died in Butare alone.
The trial was adjourned on 4 April 2002 to facilitate the hearing of an alternate before Trial Chamber II.
Among the Butare six is the only woman indicted by the ICTR, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, who was a minister for family and women’s affairs during the genocide. She is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape.
The other defendants are: Nyiramasuhuko’s son Arsene Ntahobali, a former militia leader; Elie Ndayambaje, a former mayor of Muganza commune; Alphonse Nteziryayo, a former governor of Butare; Joseph Kanyabashi, a former mayor of Ngoma commune and Sylvain Nsabimana, a former Butare governor. Nsabimana took over from Ndayambaje as governor during the genocide.
The last witness to testify before the adjournment — identified only as “TN” — alleged that she was raped twice by one of the accused, Ntahobali. However, TN failed to identify Ntahobali when asked to do so in court; instead, she pointed at a UN security officer who was guarding the accused.
TN testified that she was 17 when Ntahobali allegedly raped her between 22 and 25 April 1994 in Butare.
The trial is held before Trial Chamber II of the ICTR, comprising Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramarason of Madagascar.