Arusha, April 14, 2003 (FH) - The former mayor of Mukingo commune, in thenorth western town of Ruhengeri, Juvénal Kajelijeli, Monday began hisexaminationinchief before Trial Chamber Two of the International Criminaltribunal for Rwanda. A former foreman in a carpentry shop owned by the Busogo catholic parish,Kajelijli, 52, began his testimony giving a detailed account of his risethrough the ranks to become Mukingo's most powerful man.

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In 1973, Kajeljeli became a counsellor of Rwinzovu, his hometown, and at onetime acted as the bourgmestre of Mukingo. It was then, as he told the court,that he attended special courses in accountancy that led him to be appointedas the accountant of Nkuli commune in Ruhengeri. In 1988 and until 1993 Kajelijeli was appointed bourgmestre of Mukingo by thepresident of Rwanda, at the recommendation of Zigiranyirazo Protais who wasthen the prefect of Ruhengeri. The latter, a brotherinlaw former presidentHabyarimana, is also being detained at the ICTR on genocide charges. In 1993, Kajelijeli was removed from his post following outcries fromopposition parties for his removal. He had been accused of being behindethnical unrest in Mukingo. The accused later regained his seat when he was ‘elected' as the mayor ofthe same commune on June 26, 1994, at the height of the genocide. He saidthat the Electoral College was made up of a select group in the communewhich included among others, senior government officials, local authoritiesand the clergy. Apart from giving a detailed account of his administrative career,Kajelijeli also stated that there were no massacres in the commune afterJune 26, 1994, the day he took over the reigns. Kajelijeli, has pleaded not guilty to eleven counts of genocide and crimesagainst humanity. The prosecution maintains that he instigated, planned andparticipated in the killing of Tutsis in Mukingo and adjoining communes in1994. The trial continues Chamber Two composed of the Tanzania Judge WilliamSekule (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston ChurchillMatanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. KN/CE/FH(KJ'0414e)