Arusha, February 7, 2002 (FH) - The current pro-Tutsi regime in Rwanda must also admit responsibility in the 1994 genocide, former Prime Minister Faustin Twagiramungu said late Tuesday. "I believe we all bear some responsibility for what happened in Rwanda," he said.

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"The RPF (party of current president Paul Kagame) must also accept that it committed crimes and that it killed Rwandans, even if it doesn't want to admit that it killed Hutus. "The former Prime Minister was speaking to Hirondelle after testifying as a defence witness in the genocide trial of Seventh Day Adventist pastor Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Twagiramungu, a moderate Hutu, was leader of the opposition MDR party in Rwanda. He was Prime Minister designate under the August 1993 Arusha peace accords but only became Prime Minister when the pro-Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took power in July 1994, ending the genocide. He resigned from that government and fled to exile in August 1995, after denouncing army atrocities against civilians. "Preparation but no plan"Twagiramungu told the ICTR he believed that extremist Hutus in the former regime made preparations to wipe out the opposition, Hutu and Tutsi alike, but that they did not plan the genocide sparked by the downing of former president Juvénal Habyarimana's plane on April 6th, 1994. "There was psychological preparation, when people chanted 'Tuzabatsembatsemba', that is, that they were going to exterminate everyone who opposed President Habyarimana (…)," he told Hirondelle. "Was that plan carried out because President Habyarimana was assassinated along with his close associates ? If the answer is yes, that means it was the same people that conceived the plan who downed the plane. But there is proof today that it was unfortunately not them who did it. And so I say we have to re-examine past declarations, and Rwandans must try to rewrite their own history. "Twagiramungu told the court in his testimony that he suspected it was the RPF that had shot down the plane. But he told Hirondelle that while extremist Hutus did not plan to start the genocide on April 6th, that did not mean it was "spontaneous". He said he had never denied that the killings were directed by members of the pro-Hutu former army and interim government. "That's why," he continued, "I have always said that the Kambanda government must assume responsibility. (…) If there were killings, someone was directing them. If massacres were taking place and a government was there without trying to stop them, or rather saying that to stop the RPF people should continue the killings… that was a bad decision, I think I have always been clear on that point. "Jean Kambanda was Prime Minister of the interim government that claimed power on April 9th, 1994. He is serving a life sentence for genocide, after pleading guilty before the ICTR. Not just a Tutsi genocideTwagiramungu also told the court he did not agree that the genocide was only against Tutsis. He said all opponents of the Habyarimana regime had been targeted, that many Hutus also died, and that this should be recognized. "People say in the press and in books that there was a plan to kill Tutsis," he told Hirondelle. "And I told the court that there had indeed been planning, but not to exterminate only Tutsis, it was to kill Tutsis and Hutus. And that there was a genocide, but not a genocide of Tutsis alone. There was a genocide of Tutsis and members of the opposition. There were millions of people in the opposition, and those millions were not only Tutsis. "He regretted that there had never been any reliable investigation into the victims of the genocide. "I will never accept that there was a genocide of Tutsis only," he continued. "That would be to betray my brothers and other Rwandans who were with me in my party and other parties, and who perished under the machetes or under the hoes of all those killers. Talking to prosecutionHaving testified for the first time for defence, Hirondelle asked Twagiramungu if he would also be prepared to testify for prosecution in another case. He said he had already talked to the prosecution, but recounted how his experience had not inspired confidence. "In 2000 I met with a delegation from the Office of the Prosecutor, I was interviewed for six hours," he said. "And I signed a document which they exhibited (on Monday) before the Tribunal, hoping to catch me out with contradictions, which did not happen. I even expressed regret that this document had been distributed well beforehand. At least six months ago this document was circulating in Belgium among certain individuals, just like that. And I regretted the Office of the Prosecutor's lack of confidentiality. ""If I have come here today for the defence and in 2000 I answered the Prosecutor's questions, I don't see why I would not accept an invitation from the Prosecutor, under certain circumstances," he continued. "If it were someone (an accused) with whom I had had personal relations, I would accept. But I must also add that I think I have made the essential clarifications, whether it be for the defence or the Prosecutor. The document (prosecution statement) is there. I think people should put it together with what I said for the defence. "JC/FH (NK0207e)