Arusha, December 3, 2003 (FH) - A prosecution witness in the Government I trial involving four former senior government officials on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the Secretary general of MRND, Joseph Nzirorera praised genocide convict, Juvenal Kajelijeli in meetings. In the government trial, the four co-accused are the president of the former ruling party, the MRND, Matthieu Ngirumpatse, his vice president Edouard Karemera, Joseph Nzirorera, as well as the former minister of primary and secondary education, André Rwamakuba.

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Kajelijeli, the former mayor of Mukingo (Ruhengeri province) was found guilty on Monday by the ICTR of genocide and crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. The witness code-named GBV to protect his identity told the chamber that he saw Nzirorera addressing a meeting twice in Ruhengeri regional stadium. In those meetings, the witness said, he heard Nzirorera sing praises on Kajelijeli. “If all the mayors work the way Kajelijeli did, the prefecture would progress,” he said. In most of the examination in chief by prosecuting attorney Don Webster of Jamaica, the witness was asked questions regarding the relationships between the accused and Kajelijeli. GBV also testified that Nzirorera and another genocide suspect, one brother in-law of late president Juvenal Habyarimana, Protais Zigiranyirazo, supported Kajelijeli's power. “When Kajelijeli was summoned to court, the courts couldn't touch him because he was supported by authorities,” GBV stated. GBV also said Nzirorera advised the population during meetings to, “be brave in the struggle against the enemy, the Inyenzi, and be faithful to the MRND party. ”The four former leaders are each charged with seven counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity (rape and extermination). The trial continues on Thursday with the cross-examination of the GBV and the hearing of the next prosecution witness RO. It is taking place in trial Chamber Three of the ICTR which is composed of Judge Andrésia Vaz, assisted by two ad litem (not permanent) judges, Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and Florence Rita Arrey from Cameroon. SV/CE/FH (GovI1203e)