Arusha, April 23, 2004 (FH)- The former Rwandan minister of education in the interim government during the 1994 genocide, Andre Rwamakuba, is alleged to have supplied machetes to young Hutus during the genocide. The allegations were made Thursday by a prosecution witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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The witness code-named "GII" to keep his identity secret, said that on April 10 or 11 1994, Rwamakuba had brought to his home commune of Gikomero (Kigali rural) new machetes in the boot of his car. "Young Hutus unloaded white sacks full of new machetes from the car. They started killing Tutsis and destroying their houses. "The witness also added that on April 4 or 5, the former minister had held a propaganda meeting for MDR-Power in Gikomero. The MDR (the opposition Mouvement démocratique républicain) had split into two factions in 1993: a moderate one and the so-called "power" faction composed of radical Hutus. The witness admitted that he had not attended the meeting and had only heard about it. Andre Rwamakuba is jointly accused with three former leaders of the ruling party, the MRND (Mouvement Republicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement): Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former president of the party, his vice president, Edouard Karemera, and the secretary general, Joseph Nzirorera. Rwamakuba, unlike his co-accused, has been boycotting the proceedings since the trial opened on November 26, 2003, protesting that his case file has been manipulated by the prosecutor. GII is the 11th prosecution witness called so far. The trial is taking place in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Andresia Vaz from Senegal (presiding), Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and Florence Arrey of Cameroon. Proceedings were adjourned until Tuesday as Monday is a public holiday in Tanzania. KN/ER/AT/GF/FH (GVI''0423e)