Arusha, November 27, 2003 (FH)- Former Rwandan Minister of FinanceEmmanuel Ndindabahizi on Thursday denied before the International CriminalTribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he asked the youth wing movement of theSocial Democratic Party (PSD) to join the civil defence programme at ameeting in Kibuye. Ndindabahizi 53, is charged with three counts including genocide andcrimes against humanity (extermination and murder).

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He allegedly perpetratedmassacres of civilians in his home prefecture of Kibuye, western Rwanda. The accused, who testified in his defence for the third day, was beingcross-examined by prosecution attorney Charles Adeogun-Phillips. Heconfirmed that he never made the alleged remarks during a meeting at Kibuyeon May 3rd 1994, which was also attended by former Prime Minister JeanKambanda and other government officials. American historian and human rights activist Alison Des Forges told thechamber, when she testified for the prosecution, that Ndindabahizi had madea speech asking members of PSD to join the civil defence in large numbers soas to fight Tutsis. PSD had the largest membership in Kibuye prefecture. When Adegoun-Phillips referred to a transcript of the meeting containingNdindabahizi's words on the issue of civil defence, the suspect protested,arguing that the document was questionable. ”I have been given a document. I do not know who has prepared it and when. The allegations in the document are very serious. Where did you get it?”Ndindabahizi argued. Ndindabahizi further said that the document was a forgery. The prosecutor told Nndindabahizi that the speech he made during the meetingamounted to betrayal of PSD which was a neutral party with no extremistideologies. Asked then why he did not arrest his brother Ezekias Syenyenze when hevisited Gacharu cellule on June 26th for killing Tutsis, the suspect statedthat he was never informed about the crimes Syenyenze had committed. He further denied having played a role in the killing of a farmer calledCyprien Karegeya, who was massacred at a roadblock in Gitaka centre withinGitesi Commune. The cross-exa mination was completed late in the afternoon. The trialcontinues on Friday afternoon when the judges will ask Ndindabahiziquestions before deliberating on pending motions. Ndindabahizi's trial is before Trial Chamber One composed of judges ErikMose (Norway) presiding, Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan) and Solomy BalungiBossa (Uganda). PJ/CE/FH (NB'1127e)