Arusha, April 16, 2003 (FH) - The former mayor of Mukingo commune in Ruhengeri prefecture, Northwest Rwanda, Juvenal Kajelijeli on wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda that prosecution witnesses were forged and gave false testimony at the court. The prosecution accuses the former mayor of instigating, ordering, planning and participating in the massacres of Tutsis in Mukingo and adjoining communes in the genocide of 1994.

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The accused who was testifying in his own defense as the 28th and last defense witness told the court that the prosecution witnesses mentioned to him by the lead defense counsel, Professor Lennox Hinds of the United States were involved in crime. He said that some were testifying in a bid to revenge the punishments they received from him while he was Mayor during the period of 19881993 and later in June 1994. The lead defense counsel asked whether he knew a witness called GBV and he replied, “I have information that the witness was responsible for the death of 120 people including the mayor of Kagano (Ruhengeri). He also killed Hutus who returned from exile”He also said another witness identified as GBE was an accomplice of bandits who hid in his restaurant, adding that “this witness was Arrested by authorities for his deeds and had come to revenge by giving evidence in the tribunal”Speaking of another witness identified as GAO, the former mayor defined him as being, “a thief, he was a hooligan at Byangabo (Ruhengeri) who was arrested under the curfew for being homeless. I know how he signed this contract and the compensation in return,” the accused stated. The genocide suspect also declared that a female witness only identified as GAS had been approached by Ibuka, a survivors association, to give false evidence. “Ibuka tells them what to say so as to give their contribution to the war,” he saidDuring the afternoon session the accused was crossexamined by the prosecuting counsel, Ms. Ifeoma Ojemeni of Nigeria, regarding civil servants posted in his commune. Kajelijeli replied that he had "no authority over those working in the prosecutors office and in the military" and that he "received instructions from judges regarding executive meetings. " He added that he "could not order the gendarmerie", and "requested the prefect to send them to me in order to restore law and order". The prosecutor alleges that the accused represented executive power at the level of the commune, 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. The prosecution maintains that Kajelijeli failed to take the necessary measures to prevent the acts from being committed or to punish those who were responsible. Kajelijeli has pleaded not guilty to eleven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The case is before Trial chamber two, composed of Tanzanian Judge William Sekule (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. SV/CE/FH (KJ0416e)