Arusha, January 27, 2003 (FH) - The sixteenth defence witness for genocide suspect, former Minister of Higher Education in Rwanda, Jean de Dieu Kamunda told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Monday that no weapons were distributed to the population of Gikomero commune as alleged by the prosecution. The witness dubbed NTD to protect his identity said that between April 6 and 16, there was only one gun in Gikomero, and that it was owned by one Nzarambe.

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He said he was certain about it because it was war time and nobody could have hidden weapons during such a time. He was responding to questions from the codefence council, Patricia Mongo of Congo Brazzaville, who among other things wanted to know how certain the witness was about alleged distribution of weapons in the commune. The witness added that two days later the commune got two more guns from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) soldiers who were overpowered by civilians and fled, leaving behind these weapons. He said the two weapons were then distributed to Kamanzi and Karekezi,, whom he said were former 'gendarmes' and trained in the handling of firearms. Like previous witnesses, NTD said Kamuhanda was neither present in Gikomero nor heard people talk about his presence during the attack at Gikomero parish on April, 12th. He said refugees from the neighbouring Rubungo commune gathered at the parish because there were attacked by the militia group of the then ruling party, MRND. During cross examination by Marks Moore of the prosecution , the witness denied allegations that he was part of the Interahamwe and participated in the massacres at Gikomero parish. The court also started hearing briefly evidence from the seventeenth defence witness dubbed GPB. This witness will resume his testimony on Tuesday morning,The case is before Trial Chamber Two presided over by Judge William Sekule of Tanzania, assisted by Judges Arlette Ramaroson of Madagascar and Winston Churchill Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho. NI/FH (KH0127e)