Arusha, May 8th, 2003, (FH) - The 1994 Rwanda genocide was not organized by the state but by Akazu and was executed by the Interahamwe, an expert witness in the Kamuhanda trial told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Thursday. Nkiko Nsengimana, a Rwandan political scientist, described Akazu (the little house) as the core of power, which mainly consisted of the clan of the first lady (Mrs Habyarimana), with people from the North of the country who occupied strategic positions and wielded a lot of power.

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The Interahamwe was the youth wing of the MRND party, which was ruling Rwanda during the genocide. Testifying for the second day in the trial of former Rwandan Minister for Higher Education and genocide suspect Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, the witness concentrated mainly on the attack of the presidential plane on April 6th, in which president Habyarimana was killed, and its consequences. Chaos after the crash"This attack triggered the genocide. It made it possible for the ultra to take over the state power. Akazu took over and carried out the catastrophe that we all know about. The brains behind the Tutsi genocide are Akazu with their armed wing the Interahamwe," he declared. The assassination of Habyarimana, according to the witness was intended to create a political void and cause political chaos. He cited the first victims on April 7th as the then Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and several ministers. He further explained that the assassinations of Uwingiliyimana and other leaders who could still represent the state, was perpetrated by Col Théoneste Bagosora, then the head of gendarmerie with his henchmen as a formula to create a new government which he wanted to head. After the killing of the President, the top military officials met immediately with UNAMIR where Bagosora proposed that the army take over power . The UNAMIR refused and said instead a meeting should be held with the RPF. "The army refused to accept Bagosora, he left and was not seen the whole night until the following morning when the killings started. He became the real perpetrator of the massacres at that time," the witness said. Nsengimana, who was led in his chief evidence by Kamuhanda's lead counsel Aicha Conde of Guinea, also told the court that Joseph Nzirorera and Aloys Nsekalije, a colonel in the army and a former minister, were members of Akazu and were very much feared because of the power that they had. "Nzirorera was the leader of the Interahamwe and used to say 'myInterahamwe'", Nsengimana stated. Collective responsibility of the governmentAccording to the witness the interim government had a collective responsibility to stop the genocide. He added that each leader in the government should have been held responsible for criminal acts or omissions. " How were the elite Tutsi and Hutu able to live and allow sacrifice of human life?" the witness wondered. Nsengimana was the thirtysixth and last defence witness in the trial. After completion of his testimony he expressed his surprise to the chamber for being referred to as a defence witness whereas he came to testify as an expert witness. He said he could as well have testified as a prosecution witness, for that matter. The trial was adjourned to Monday when the chamber will hold a status conference and attend to pending matters and motions. Kamuhanda trial is before Trial Chamber II composed of Judges William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson (Madagascar) Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu (Lesotho)PJ/CE/FH (KH'0508e)