Arusha, April 22, 2004 (FH)- The defence counsel for Mathieu Ngirumpatse, former president of the ruling party in Rwanda, the Mouvement Republicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (MRND), Wednesday questioned the credibility of a self-confessed killer appearing as a prosecution witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Ngirumpatse is on trial with two other senior officials of the MRND; Joseph Nzirorera and Edouard Karemera, as well as a former minister of education, Andre Rwamakuba.

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The witness, code-named GBU to protect his identity, is the 10th prosecution witness. He admitted that he was a member of the Interahamwe militia in Mukingo Commune (Ruhengeri province, northern Rwanda). Ngirumpatse's lawyer, Charles Roach from Canada, pointed out to the witness that in a statement he made to ICTR investigators May 7, 1999, he had denied being a member of the militia. "I did tell them that I was a member of the Interahamwe militia," the witness reacted. "Did you also tell the investigators that on April 7, 1994, you had heard a radio announcement telling people not to leave their homes?" asked the lawyer. "I told them that I had left my home on April 7. I never spoke about the radio announcement," retorted GBU. In the end he blamed the contradictions on the ICTR investigators. "There are some elements in the statement which do not correspond with what I said," added the witness. The trial continues in Trial Chamber One of the ICTR composed of Judge Andresia Vaz from Senegal (presiding), Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and Florence Arrey of Cameroon. KN/ER/AT/JA/GF/FH(GVI''0422E)