A prosecution witness testifying in the case against Yussuf Munyakazi said he personally saw the accused taking part in killings and supervising mass slaughter at Shyangi Parish, Western Province during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Munyakazi, 74, is the oldest of detainees at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and is accused of Genocide, Complicity in Genocide and Extermination.
“I was in his group on the 29 April 1994. I personally saw him killing Petronilla Nyiramuteteri after she had pleaded with him for mercy,” said the witness code-named BWU for security reasons.
Munyakazi, clad in his trademark Islamic cap, sat in the defence dock of the chamber as the witness added; “After we had spared her from death, Munyakazi didn’t. He shot her using a pistol.”
The witness who also admitted having personally killed five people during that particular attack, said Munyakazi arrived at Shyangi in a convoy of two Daihatsu pick-up trucks loaded with machetes, clubs and hoes that were later used to kill 5,000 innocent Tutsis.
The witness narrated that Munyakazi’s arrival with well trained militias and weaponry became a strong reinforcement to their small local force that had been poorly armed.
“Yusuf’s car had all the weapons each of us needed to accomplish that task on that day. He also came with trained militias dressed in military attire and these reinforced the killings,” the witness said.
The witness was the last of the eleven witnesses prosecution presented to the court.
Munyakazi is one of the suspects who had been referred for trial to Rwanda by the ICTR Chief Prosecutor but the trial chamber turned down the request.
Testimonies so far heard, point to the fact that the former wealthy businessman allegedly carried out similar attacks on Mibilizi, and Nyamasheke parishes in Cyangugu during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
The accused was arrested in May 2004 in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he had disguised himself as a Muslim preacher, under the name of Mzee Mandevu (loosely translated in Kiswahili to mean; the bearded old man)