Arusha, April 16, 2003 (FH) - The former mayor of Mukingo commune inRuhengeri, Juvenal Kajelijeli, told the International Criminal Tribunal forRwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday that he did not participate in the killings thereas he was living in another commune at that time. Kajelijeli, told Trial Chamber Two that he only got to learn of the killingsfrom people in his other home in Nkuli and only went to Mukingo to try andevacuate his family.

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He said that he had moved to Nkuli for securityreasons. “I had a feeling that violence was going to erupt and I immediately fearedfor my life”, he said, adding that in the past he had been a victim ofthreats against his life. He said that his fear increased when he learntthat the prefect of Ruhengeri and his family had been killed by the RPFtogether with Colonel Poncien Hakizimana. “I did not know what to do, and since the authorities had announced on theradio that people should remain at home, I remained in Nkuli”, he said. “It was there that I first got to know that violence had erupted. I wasinformed by the head of Rwankeli Adventist mission, Pheneas Karekezi, thatgangs of people had besieged his mission”, the former mayor continued toexplain, saying that many Tutsis had taken refuge there. Kajelijeli continued that, that same afternoon, a messenger from one of thelocal courts informed him that Tutsis in Kinyababa had been attacked andkilled by people from neighbouring Rukomo sector. “I went to see the bourgmestre of Nkuli to get news of my family in Mukingoand he informed me that Busogo convent had also been attacked,” the accusedsaid, adding that the bourgmestre of Nkuli had told him that localauthorities had been powerless to stop the massacres. “He told me that they had been overwhelmed by the violence against Tutsisand could not intervene effectively. That is when I decided to go andevacuate family in secteur Rwinzovu, in Mukingo as he feared for theirsafety”. Kajelijeli's wife would not abandon Tutsis, he declaredHe told the court that his parents refused to budge, telling him that ifthey were going to die, they would die in their homes. “My second wife alsorefused to go saying that she could not abandon Tutsis who had sought refugein my house, and that it would cause panic among the local population ifthey saw me take my family away", he stated. “Some of them survived and are still alive, but I lost people close to me,my Tutsi sistersinlaw and friends”, said Kajelijeli. Kajelijeli also denied that there had been any training camps of Interahamwein Mukingo, saying that he would have been the first to know. The prosecution in the case, led by Ifeoma Ojemini of Nigeria maintains thatfrom April through July 1994, “many Tutsi men, women and children wereattacked, abducted, raped and massacred in their residences or at theirplaces of shelter within the Mukingo commune”. It continues that; “…theaccused commanded, organized, supervised and participated in these attacks”. Kajelijeli, represented by Lennox Hinds of the USA, has pleaded not guiltyto eleven counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. He continues histestimony in Chamber Two composed of the Tanzanian Judge William Sekule(presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill MatanzimaMaqutu of Lesotho. KN/CE/FH(KJ'0416e)