Arusha, December 2, 2003 (FH) – The third prosecution witness in the trial involving four former senior government officials on Tuesday detailed to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) how the Secretary general of the MRND, Joseph Nzirorera, set up the youth wing of the party, the Interahamwe. In the government I trial, Nzirorera is co-accused with the president of the former ruling party, the MRND, Matthieu Ngirumpatse, his vice president Edouard Karemera, as well as the former minister of primary and secondary education, André Rwamakuba.

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The witness code-named GBG to protect his identity told the chamber that he personally saw Nzirorera three times holding meetings in Bisesero and Mukingo Football ground in which he prepared people for acts of genocide. In that meeting, “Nzirorera personally said he was going to set up a youth group called Interahamwe to help them search for Inyenzi”, GBG recounted. “Even if some Inyenzi were already dead, the youth group will end the rest of them,” Nzirorera allegedly added. Inyenzi (cockroaches) is the derogatory term used to define accomplices of the Rwandan Peoples Force(RPF), said the witness. In that meeting, Nzirorera promised to get some specific clothing for the youth group. The witness who was a student at the time said he “ saw Nzirorera personally in Interahamwe uniform, his house in Nsimbi was made the Interahamwe office and Interahamwe spent time there raising a flag similar to their kitenge uniform”. Later the witness said Nzirorera fulfilled his promises, which included supplying transport and weapons to Interahamwe to kill Tutsis and theiraccomplices. “Nzirorera provided lories and one of his brothers was driving the lorries which were packed in front of the Interahamwe offices,” he said. GBG who previously testified in the Kajelijeli trial also told the court that he witnessed Nzirorera distributing weapons. “A young man named Muhumbo stood near Nzirorera when the Interahamwe uniforms were being distributed and Nzirorera gave him the weapon, he was very happy and he showed the weapon,” he explained. The Nigerian substitute of the prosecutor, Ifeoma Ojemini, who was also part of the prosecution team in the Kajelijeli trial, often referred to theformer mayor of Mukingo commune while examining GBG. The prosecution accuses Nzirorera of plotting with Kajelijeli to commit genocide in Mukingo. Kajelijeli was sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday by the ICTR. The witness further explained to the court that in another instance, that Nzirorera met Kajelijeli at the University Campus for Agriculture institute (ISAE) and soon afterwards Tutsis refugees located there were asked to move. GBG testified that 300 Tutsis residing in Munyangavo were attacked and killed by armed Interahamwe. “The population and Interahamwe began killing people, using grenades, machetes as well as other similar instruments. ” He added that after they had finished they said, “we have exterminated the Inyenzi. ”The prosecution maintains that the Interahamwe were the main instigators of the genocide. Defence counsel for Nzirorera, Mr. Peter Robinson of the USA, cross-examined the witness regarding mainly his credibility. Most questions did not directly focus on the testimony of the witness. Defence counsels also told the court that they wanted to establish the credibility of witnesses because Rwandan survivors associations like Ibuka and Avega were influencing the witnesses. André Rwamakuba was not present for the fourth consecutive day. He has been boycotting the trial since its beginning, and is only represented by his two counsels. He maintains that his case is « manipulated » by the prosecutor. 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 is taking place in Chamber Three of the ICTR, 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 (GovI1202e)