Arusha, November 27th, 2002 (FH) - A death row inmate told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Wednesday said that a Rwandan prosecutor had threatened him and his family not to testify in defence of genocide suspect and former Rwandan mayor Juvenal Kajelijeli. The defence witness, only identified as 'RHU 27' to protect his identity from the public has been convicted in Rwanda of genocide and sentenced to death.

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He has appealed against his sentence. RHU 27 said that he had also been threatened and mistreated by the head of the prison in which he is jailed. "He told me that if I insisted on coming to testify for Kajelijeli, I run a risk of being transferred and my family would be in danger", RHU 27 said of prosecutor Rukira rwa Muhizi of the office of the prosecutor in Ruhengeri province (north west Rwanda). "He said that if I desisted from testifying in favour of Kajelijeli, he would make sure that my sentence is reduced by the appeals chamber", said RHU 27. He said that the incident took place shortly after he had been contacted by Kajelijeli's defence in September 2001. Kajelijeli's defence first made the allegations in court shortly after the incident. In an inquiry by the Rwandan ministry of justice, both rwa Muhiza and the director of Ruhengeri prison denied the allegations. Most of RHU 27's testimony on Wednesday was in closed session. Kajelijeli, 50, has pleaded not guilty to eleven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecution maintains that he instigated, planned and participated in the killing of ethnic Tutsis in Mukingo commune (Ruhengeri) and adjoining communes in 1994. The trial is before Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho). GG/CE/FH(KJ-1127e)