Arusha, November 15th, 2000 (FH) - Former Rwandan mayor Laurent Semanzacalled on young Hutus to arm themselves "against the enemy" without anyfear, saying he was "strong enough to protect them", a witness told theInternational Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday. Semanza, a former mayor of Bicumbi, central Rwanda, is charged with 14counts of genocide and crimes against humanity related to massacres ofTutsis in the communes of Gikoro and Bicumbi in 1994.

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The fifth prosecution witness, dubbed "WS" to protect his identity, toldthe UN court that Semanza addressed a meeting in September 1992, where hecalled on all young and strong Hutus to sign up for training on how tofight the enemy. WS said that the mayor focussed particularly on the"enemy" in the Rugende and Mutara regions of Bicumbi. He explained thatthese regions had a high concentration of Tutsis. The witness described himself as a Hutu who had participated in some of thetraining sessions and who was subsequently detained for a year and a halfon suspicion of leaking information about the training. WS said theparticipants were trained on how to handle guns and shells, and that theequipment belonged to the commune. WS told the court that the equipment was kept in the police armoury and"brought only when the mayor was present". The training took place in asmall forest near the commune offices in Nzige, WS said. Witness WS said he saw Semanza giving the sector representative in chargeof the recruitment , Anastase Nkazamuregu, a list of names of people whowere to be trained. The training was conducted by the commune brigadier andhis deputy, according to the witness. WS told the court that he learned about the training while working as adriver's assistant for Mr "X" (designated thus for protection). "I happenedto transport the people to the place of training and I helped to pay them,"he said. Witness WS said he transported people to the training session ontwo occasions. The selection criteria, he continued, were that the people had to be youngHutus, members of the former single party MRND, not associated with theTutsis, and trustworthy enough not to tell Tutsis about the training. During cross-examination by Semanza's Cameroonian defence counsel CharlesTaku, the witness said he was later arrested and detained because he hadattended the training when his name was not on the participants' list, eventhough his boss "Mr X" had invited him. Semanza is appearing before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed ofjudges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), George Williams of Jamaicaand Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JC/FH (SE%1115E )