Arusha, December 2, 2002 (FH) - Former Mukingo Mayor and genocide suspect, Juvénal Kajelijeli did not ask students to join the Interahamwe, contrary toallegations by the prosecution, a defence witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Monday. Witness TLA, who was in charge of a vocational training school in Mukingo commune, said there were no meetings addressed by Kajelijeli in schools asking the students to join the Interahamwe between 1991 and 1994.

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"There were no such meeting. And they could not have been convened and students invited without my knowledge," the witness said. Led in his chief evidence by Kajelijeli's defence attorney, Lennox Hinds of the United States, TLA told the court that there was no military training for civilians and distribution of uniforms between 1991 and 1994 as alleged by the prosecution. He added that he never heard about a list of ethnic Tutsis to be eliminated, which according to the prosecution was prepared and distributed in the same period. TLA who was an active member of the MRND party said Kajelijeli only served as a mayor and had no function in the party. According to the witness, Kajelijeli aged 50, and whom he had known since 1991, only served as a mayor from June 1994 to July when he fled the country. Most part of TLA's testimony was taken in closed session to avoid revelation of his identity. He is the eighth defence witness. Kajelijeli has denied eleven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. He is accused of instigating, planning and participating in the killing of ethnic Tutsis at Mukingo and adjoining communes during the 1994 genocide. The trial continues on Tuesday before Trial Chamber Two, of ICTR comprising Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Churchill Mantazima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar. PJ/CE/FH (KJ-1202e)