Home NewsInternational Court Hears Witness Who ‘Escorted Kabuga’s Ammunition Convoys’

Court Hears Witness Who ‘Escorted Kabuga’s Ammunition Convoys’

by Daniel Sabiiti
10:27 am

The trial of one of Rwanda’s top genocide suspects Félicien Kabuga resumed on Tuesday, hearing the testimony of one of the members of the genocide militia group (Interahamwe).

The witness (KAB007) testified on the role of Kabuga in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, especially in Gisenyi town, currently Rubavu district.

The witness was heard from the International Criminal Court in Arusha-Tanzania, and was connected with prosecutors, and the jury in The Hague in Netherlands, through a video-link.

The witnesses’ identification was altered to protect their identity and for the first time since the case resumed for an in-depth trial, Kabuga appeared in court and was sitting in a wheelchair, following his case, unlike in the last hearing when he followed it from the court’s prison.

KAB007 said that he was an Interahamwe who worked in the city of Gisenyi, and in 1991, he said, his militia had become a big threat.

The witness told the court about the meeting that took place at Hôtel Méridien in Gisenyi, on April 25, 1994, which was attended by civil and military authorities, including Colonel Anatole Nsengiyumva – who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Arusha court for genocide crimes.

In the meeting, the witness said, Kabuga agreed to buy weapons to give the Interahamwe to fight Inyenzi- (a demeaning identity given to Tutsi and Rwanda Patriotic Front –RPF soldiers), a move which he said meant that the enemy was not only the RPF, but also the Tutsi.

He said that the weapons that arrived in Rwanda were carried in trucks from the Goma airport, and they were taken from Méridien to Gisenyi military base and were expected to be distributed from Umuganda stadium to the militia who had finished the training.

Kabuga’s lawyer, Françoise Matte, asked questions that were taken in-camera so that while answering them the witness identity wouldn’t be revealed.

For instance, the lawyer asked the witness to show that Kabuga’s vehicle was among the vehicles that carried the said ammunition and he replied that the vehicles were marked Établissement Félicien Kabuga, but Établissement was written as ETS.

When Kabuga’s defense lawyer dug deep into details of why the witness agreed to escort the weapons to Gitarama province (now Muhanga district), the witness went silent and this compelled the Judge (Iain Bonomy) to intervene.

When Judge Bonomy asked why he was silent, the witness said that the details were revealing and could unveil his identity, a suggestion that compelled the judge to adjourn the hearing.

The case proceeded in-camera on the above grounds. More witness hearings will be held this Wednesday and Thursday before the UN court takes a break on November 11, 2022.

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