Arusha, April 23, 2003 (FH) - Former mayor of Mukingo commune (Ruhengeri prefecture, Northwest Rwanda) and genocide suspect, Juvenal Kajelijeli on Wednesday completed testifying for himself at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda by refuting several allegations that were put to him by the prosecutor. The accused who is the 28th and last defense witness, refuted an allegation raised during cross examination by rosecuting counsel Ms Ifeoma Ojemeni of Nigeria that he ordered people at road blocks to arrest Tutsis and kill them.

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”If I had wanted to kill Tutsis, I would have started with those I had sheltered in my house. I had Tutsi friends and relatives, I did not order any killings,” the accused replied. Kajelijeli added that he never saw Tutsis being arrested. “I never knew cars behind me carried Tutsis. I continued with my work. I did not know what happened before and after I passed the road blocks,” he said, adding that “roadblocks were erected to stop deserters from the battlefield, to arrest people involved in looting in Ruhengeri prefecture and to protect the military camps in that area”. The genocide suspect also repeated to the court that he did not participate in the genocide nor possess any protective weapons. “After I stopped being mayor in 1993, I handed back all weapons as well as licenses to possess them. I lived carefully and I appeared only in Nkuli and Gisenyi communes. I didn't venture elsewhere,” he indicated. The prosecution accuses the former mayor of instigating, ordering and planning the massacres of Tutsis in Mukingo and adjoining communes in the genocide of 1994. Before the former mayor completed his testimony, he was reexamined by his lead defense counsel, Professor Lennox Hinds of the United States of America. During reexamination, Kajelijeli said that there was no military training that took place in Mukingo commune. “ I would have known if there was any training, but there wasn't,” he said. He also said that during the two weeks he was mayor in June 1994, his priority was the security, peaceful coexistence and general welfare of the people. “I hunted for criminals and bandits", he added. The prosecutor alleges that the accused represented executive power at the level of the commune. He had authority over the civil servants in his commune and had policing duties in regard to maintaining order and law enforcement and for ensuring peace, public order and the safety of people and property within the commune. However, he failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the acts from being committed or to punish those who were responsible. The genocide suspect has pleaded not guilty to eleven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The Kajelijeli trial will be adjourned on Thursday, after the trial chamber has examined some pending motions and has held a status conference. The case is before Trial chamber two, composed of Judge Sekule, Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. Trial chamber two alternates the Kajelijeli trial with two others, that of former Minister for Higher Education Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, and that of six accused from Butare, the socalled Butare trial. The Kamuhanda trial will resume on April, 28, 2003. SV/CE/FH (KJ'0423e)