Arusha, November 4, 2003 (FH) – Genocide suspect and former Minister of Finance, Emmanuel Ndindabahizi, attended pacification meetings in Gitesi, the thirteenth defence witness told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday. Ndindabahizi 53, is charged with three counts including genocide and crimes against humanity (extermination and murder).

1 min 33Approximate reading time

He is accused of organizing, inciting and supervising massacres, including making public calls for the killing of Tutsis in general and certain individuals in particular. He pleaded not guilty to all counts. The witness was a “bourgmestre” during the genocide. He is detained in Rwanda for genocide. He said the accused attended a communal meeting on 13th of April in Gitesi where pacification decisions were made. He explained that all communal authorities decided that the mayors would continue getting assistance from the gendarmeries and police, that each of the conseillers would continue preventing criminal acts. The witness also said the accused did not say anything that would encourage the massacre of civilian Tutsis during the meetings. He also testified that the genocide suspect spoke as a PSD representative during the meetings and not as a minister. He added that the ruling MRND party saw PSD members as acquaintances of the RPF and thus disliked them. The witness was then cross-examined by prosecutor Wallace Kapaya of Tanzania. Kapaya relied on statements the accused allegedly made during a public meeting in Kibuye, in May 1994, which the prime minister of the interim government, Jean Kambanda, and the witness attended. Jean Kambanda was sentenced to life in prison by the ICTR in 1998 after pleading guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity. According to Kapaya, Ndindabahizi said that his party, the PSD, which used to be pro RPF, was now « supporting the interim government ». The witness explained that it was impossible, at the time, to criticize the government and that doing it exposed one's life. He further explained that Ndindabahizi did not take part in the killings in Kibuye, and that Ndindabahizi could not openly condemn the massacres as a member of the PSD, nor as a minister of the government. “Nobody dared do that”, he said. The testimony of the thirteenth defence witness, which began on Monday, ended on Tuesday. The next witness, code-named DA, expressed fears for her security and will be heard in closed session in order to protect her identity. The trial is before Trial Chamber One composed of Judge Erik Mose (Norway) presiding, judges Khalida Rachid Khan (Pakistan) and Solomy Balungi Bossa (Uganda). SV/CE/FH (NB1104e)