Arusha, March 28, 2003 (FH) - Former Cyangugu prefect and genocide suspect Emmanuel Bagambiki on Thursday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, that he tried to pacify the Cyangugu prefecture and that he also informed the Minister of Interior to intervene in order to restore peace to disturbed areas in his prefecture. Bagambiki, who is testifying in his own defence, is jointly on trial with former commander of Karambo military camp, Samuel Imanishimwe and exMinister for Transport and communication, Andre Ntagerura.

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The three are accused of being the architects of the genocide in Cyangugu prefecture during the genocide. During chief examination by his lead defense counsel, Mr. Vincent Lurquin of Belgium, the accused and last defense witness refuted allegations by the prosecution that he held meetings with Andre Ntagerura. “I did not participate in any meeting with Ntagerura. I only met him when he visited the prefecture. I have no special relation with him,” Bagambiki stated. The former prefect of Cyangugu also told the court that he lost power with the advent of the multiparty system. “During the single party system, the prefect had power. But the authority of the prefect was weakened and there was no orderly power after the multiparty system,” the accused said. He added that disturbance increased in his prefecture after the multiparty system was introduced. ”People were not prepared to receive the multiparty system which came during the war. Political parties were wild at the time. They urged people to leave the former ruling party MRMD and join their parties. Some used violence,” he explained. The genocide suspect told the court that three organs in the prefecture helped to restore peace and tranquility after the death of president Juvenal Habyarimana. He mentioned the organs as the prefectoral council which played an advisory role to the prefect, the prefectoral security council which monitored issues regarding security in all the eleven communes that made up Cyangugu prefecture and the prefectoral conference. Bagambiki explained that prefectoral meetings, which invited senior officials and notables, were held weekly in order to condemn criminal acts which had heightened. Bagambiki's testimony continues on Monday. The case is before Trial Chamber Three, presided over by judge George Lloyd Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis, assisted by judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. SV/CE/FH (CY2803e)