Arusha, November 19, 2003 (FH) – A Belgian witness whose family wasaffected by the Jewish holocaust, testified on Wednesday in the so-called“Government II” trial going on at the International Criminal Tribunal forRwanda (ICTR). The trial groups together former cabinet ministers; Casimir Bizimungu(Health), Prosper Mugiraneza (Public service), Jerome Bicamumpaka (Foreignaffairs) and Justin Mugenzi, former minister of Commerce.

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Eric Serge Rousseau was born of a Jewish mother who lost many members of herfamily during the Jewish holocaust. He arrived in Rwanda as a volunteer in July 1994, and started a projectwithin the ministry of rehabilitation known as “Genocide memorial”. The project was welcomed by the government which put in place amulti-disciplinary commission to scour the countryside and identifymassacres sites. The conclusions are known to the Tribunal under the name“Rousseau report”. Members of the commission were able to excavate identified sites in order toexhume and count the dead. The figure of 1,270,000 victims cited in Rousseau's report, was corroboratedby the chief investigator in the officer of the prosecutor, Maxwell Nkole,who was the prosecution's first witness, but counsels for the defencedismissed the figures when they cross-examined Nkole. “We tried to be as precise and objective as possible, said Rousseau, “Wetook the pain of counter-checking the figures”. He will continue testifying on Thursday. Before the auditioning of Rousseau, the defence had requested that somedocuments presented by the first witness be withdrawn. On behalf of all defence teams, Michelyne Chénard Saint-Laurent stated thatshe “was sincerely convinced that the witness (Mr. Nkole ) had lied to thecourt”. The chamber advised Saint-Laurent to file a detailed motion in writing, towhich she announced to do before November 28. The trial is taking place in trial Chamber Two of the ICTR composed ofJudges Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana of Sri Lanka (presiding), Khalida RashidKhan from Pakistan and Lee Gacuiga Muthoga from Kenya. KN/ER/CE/FH (GVII'1119'e)