Arusha, December 3rd, 2002 (FH) - Joseph Nzirorera? A genocide suspect and former president of the Rwanda National Assembly and Secretary General of the MRND, testified on Tuesday as a defence witness for former Mukingo Mayor Juvénal Kajelijeli before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Nzirorera is being detained at the United Nations detention facility in Arusha awaiting his trial.

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He is accused of conspiring with Kajelijeli in perpetrating massacres at Mukingo commune. The two were arrested in Benin in June 1998. The witness testified that Kajelijeli whom he has known since his childhood, was never a member of MRND, contrary to allegations by the prosecution. He is the ninth defence witness. Kajelijeli's defence counsel Lennox Hinds of USA produced in court the manifesto and statutes of MRND signed by Nzirorera and other top officials on July 5th 1991. The witness told the chamber that Kajelijeli was not a signatory to the documents on which the party was founded. He added that Kajelijeli did not play any role in the party's function, neither at prefectural nor at commune levels. Nzirorera said Kajelijeli served as a mayor from 1980 until 1993 when he was dismissed. Kajelijeli's dismissal came as a result of demands by the RPF who wanted some mayors and prefects relieved of their duties before undertaking any negotiations with the government. During cross-examination by prosecutor Ken Fleming, Nzirorera denied allegations against Kajelijeli that the accused had given express directions for indiscriminate killing of ethnic Tutsis in 1993 at Mukingo which led to his removal. "The RPF did not give any reasons but they were just making demands," said Nzirorera. He said that both Tutsis and Hutus were killed when RPF soldiers invaded Ruhengeri Prefecture where Mukingo was based. He also denied that he influenced the appointment of Kajelijeli as a mayor for the second time in June 1994. "He was appointed upon a proposal by the Minister of Interior," said Nzirorera. The chamber stopped the prosecutor from asking Nzirorera some questions, which it said could prejudice his trial. A protected witness dubbed KAA began his testimony in the afternoon when Nzirorera completed testifying. This trial is before ICTR's Trial Chamber Two, comprising Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) Winston Churchhill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). PJ/CE/FH (KJ-12203e)