Arusha, February 1st 2002 (FH) - A Tutsi attack launched from Uganda was the genesis of the killings in Rwanda in 1994, an expert defence witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Thursday. Professor Pascal Ndengejeho, a former Rwandan Minister, was testifying in the genocide trial of ex-mayor Laurent Semanza.

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He told the court that methods used by Tutsis to kill in the 1960s were exactly the same as those that were used by "RPF and RPA in 1990-1994". "It is clear in the two cases that it is Tutsis who started killing Hutus," the witness claimed during cross-questioning. He began his testimony on Monday. The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), whose military wing was renamed Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA), took power in Rwanda in July 1994, ending the anti-Tutsi genocide which occurred under a Hutu regime. The prosecution challenged the relevance of Ndengejeho's published works, which included books on fighting ticks in livestock. However, the witness said his previous political positions gave him enough knowledge to appear as an expert. Responding to questions from Chile Eboe Osuji of Canada and Nigeria, the witness reiterated that he questioned the definition of "genocide". Ndengejeho said that if the killings in 1994 were regarded as genocide, then killings where Hutus were victims should also be considered as genocide. Ndengejeho testified that atrocious massacres were carried out against the Hutus in areas such as Kibungo, Kigali and Gitarama. "We cannot ignore the large scale massacres of Hutus," he told the court. The witness said Hutus endured massacres with "men being hanged, women eviscerated, small children being cut up into pieces". According to Ndengejeho, between October 1st 1990 and April 6th, 1994, Tutsi attacks claimed Hutu victims. He said that if the killings from April to June 1994 constituted genocide, then this term should apply to "both camps". Ndengejeho said the Tutsis in 1994 used tactics similar to those used in the 1960s, where a situation of war was created. He told the court that "lying is the very basis of Tutsi culture", and that the Tutsi considered themselves superior because they could manipulate lies. Prosecution took issue with this statement. "Is that what you would tell people as the Minister for Information?" Osuji asked. Ndengejeho said the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) attacks of 1990 should be considered in a historical content. To Hutus, he said, the attacks signaled a return to the feudal system where they would be subjected to forced labour, taxation and beatings by the Tutsi. On Semanza, Ndengejeho reiterated that the former mayor was popular with his people. He denied knowledge of allegations that Semanza carried out raids especially against opposition opponents and those who disagreed with him. Semanza, a former mayor of Bicumbi (Kigali province in central Rwanda), is charged with 14 counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, including rape and persecution in Bicumbi and Gikoro communes. He has pleaded not guilty. Ndengejeho is to continue his testimony on Monday. The case is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR, composed of judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia (presiding), Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SW/JC/FH (SE-0201e)