Arusha, December 2, 2003 (FH) – Former Rwandan Minister of Commerce Justin Mugenzi chased away Tutsis from the head office of the Liberal party (PL) and referred to them as Inyenzi (cockroaches), the fourth prosecution witness in the trial of four former cabinet ministers told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. Mugenzi is being tried jointly with former minister of Health, Casimir Bizimungu, former minister of Foreign Affairs Jérôme Bicamumpaka, and former minister of Public Service Prosper Mugiraneza.

1 min 50Approximate reading time

They are charged with six counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The witness, code-named FW to protect his identity, recounted how he had gone to the office of PL in the company of two Tutsi friends towards the end of 1993 to talk to Mugenzi. He was then the party chaiman. FW's friends had asked him to escort them to the office of PL to which he agreed reluctantly, he said. FW, also a Tutsi, said his friends wanted to find out from Mugenzi why he had made insulting remarks against the Tutsis at a rally in Nyamirambo stadium three days earlier. Mugenzi had stated in a that rally, attended by about one thousand people, that the Tutsis who were members of the party had made a wrong choice. He further asked whether the Tutsis in his party “had already joined their Inyenzi relatives” who were not members of PL. At the office they asked Mugenzi why he had made defamatory statements. “Mugenzi got extremely angry immediately and his eyes turned red. He asked us: ‘is that why you came here? Go and join your Inyenzi brothers (Tutsis). If you delay I will call the gendarmes'” FW recalled. The witness and his friends left the office because they felt they were in danger. FW explained that all Tutsis and RPF soldiers were frequently referred to as Inyenzi. The Radio Television Libre de Mille Collines (RTLM) also used the word quite often. He also recalled hearing a speech by Mugenzi on RTLM in which he talked about some members of his party who wanted to please the Inyenzi. . FW went on that during a previous rally for several political parties at Nyamirambo stadium in mid 1992, Mugenzi had made a neutral speech and called on the MRND party which was in power then to “stop confusing Rwandans. ”Mugenzi added that all Rwandans were equal including the RPF soldiers who were fighting then. Several officials from other parties reiterated Mugenzi's sentiments according to the witness. But in 1994 Mugenzi was leading the Hutu power faction of PL following a split in the party. “At the time Mugenzi was saying that those who were not in his faction were RPF infiltrators”, FW stated. The the chief examination of FW continues on Wednesday. The trial is before Trial Chamber Two where Judge Asoka de Zoyza Gunawardana (Sri Lanka) is presiding, assisted by judges Lee Muthoga (Kenya) and Khalida Rashid Khan (Pakistan)PJ/CE/FH (GVII'1202e)