The trial of Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, the former sous-préfet in Butare Prefecture began today before Trial Chamber III composed of Judges Khalida Rachid Khan, Presiding, Lee Gacuiga Muthoga and Aydin Akay. Ntawukulilyayo is charged with three counts of genocide, or in the alternative complicity in genocide, and direct and public incitement to commit genocide.
In its opening remarks the Prosecution stated that it was going to present evidence proving that the accused who was in charge of the Communes of Ndora, Muyaga, Kibayi, Muganza, and Nyaruhengeri, planned with others, ordered, instigated, aided and abetted, failed to prevent, and failed to punish genocide in all these Communes.
The Prosecution explained that Ntawukulilyayo committed the crimes with members of the government, influential persons from Butare, civil servants, and officials such as, communal officers, communal police, gendarmes, soldiers, local militia (Interahamwe), and ordinary citizens. Three categories of witnesses will prove the prosecution case; participants, observers of aspects of, and the survivors of the crimes.
The Prosecution further stated that these witnesses will testify on the meetings held by and with the accused to plan the genocide, his instructions to officials to stop the escape of refugees to Burundi; his presence and instructions to refugees who assembled at the Gisagara market, that he lured to Kabuye Hill under the pretext of offering them food and protection. He thereafter, also instructed the hunting down like animals and killing of those who escaped death at Kabuye Hill. “He was the merchant of death,” it stated.
The Defence will make its opening statement at a later date.
Ntawukulilyayo was arrested in the French town of Carcassonne in October 2007 on the basis of a warrant issued by the ICTR. He fought his extradition in the French courts but was at the end of the proceedings transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha on 5 June 2008 and on 10 June 2008 he pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The Prosecution is led by Senior Trial Attorney, Charles Adeogun-Phillips, assisted by Trial Attorneys Ibukunolu Alao Babajide and Monica Thembile Segoete, and Case Manager, Marie Ndeye Ka, while the Defence is led by Counsel Maroufa Diabira (Mauritania), who is assisted by Dorothée Le Fraper du Hellen, Iain Edwards and Chloé Gaden.