Arusha, April 7, 2003 (FH) - A Rwandan social linguist Professor, FrançoisXavier Bangamwabo told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday that clandestine recruitment of Tutsi youths to join the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) army in early 1990s fueled interethnic hatred between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda. Testifying as an expert witness in defense of genocide suspect Juvenal Kajeljeli, former Mayor of Mukingo commune in Ruhengeri prefecture (North West Rwanda), Professor Bangamwabo said people (Hutus and Tutsis) who used to live together, on one hill, could no longer feel at ease with each other.

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He said that the sight of Tutsi neighbors clandestinely joining RPF ranks made Hutus uncomfortable and arose curiosity and hatred between families of the two ethnic groups. He elaborated that RPF recruitment process in a way confirmed Hutu ideology that Tutsis were their enemy who wanted to regain power they lost in the 1959 revolution when the monarchy system led by the Tutsi kingdom was brought down and replaced by a republican system. Professor Bangamwabo said this tension culminated into a fully fledged war on February 8, 1993, which caused about 40,000 deaths and a million people displaced. He said ethnic tension continued and RPF also continued recruiting youths covertly despite the signing of the Arusha peace accord in August, 1994. "Both parties, the government side and the RPF side, accused each other as war was being preparing," he said. Earlier, the witness explained extensively the kind of inequalities and favours Tutsis ethnic group enjoyed as opposed to Hutus before and after colonial era. He said Tutsis, despite being only less than 15 per cent of the Rwandan population, dominated and were favoured in terms of the number of students admitted in primary, secondary and college enrolments. He said inequalities were also conspicuously noted in the government employment opportunities whereby Tutsis were given a lion share. He said that as an historical background before, during and after colonial period, Tutsis were considered as naturally intelligent, born leaders who could order and command whereas their Hutu counterparts were regarded as people with strange characters and lacked prestige and respect for leadership. Before commencement of his testimony, the trial chamber denied the prosecutor's motion, contesting the witness to testify as an expert witness. The witness continues with his testimony on Tuesday before Trial Chamber Two composed of Tanzanian Judge William Sekule (presiding), Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Wiston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. NI/FH (KJ'0407e)