Arusha, April 21, 2004 (FH)-A witness who appeared at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Tuesday admitted telling lies in order to hide his participation in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The witness code-named "GBU" to protect his identity, made the assertion when he testified in the so-called "Government I" trial where three former senior officials of the ruling party and a former minister are on trial for their role in the anti-Tutsi genocide.

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GBU, the 10th prosecution witness was being cross-examined by Peter Robinson, counsel for one of the accused, Joseph Nzirorera, secretary general of the Mouvement Republicain National pour la Démocratie et le Développement (MRND). "There was no truth in my previous declarations I made in 1999. In fact I lied to escape my responsibilities", declared the witness. The witness made several statements to Rwandan judicial authorities in Ruhengeri (northern Rwanda) as well as to investigators of the ICTR in Kigali. Robinson was trying to show that the witness was not credible by pointing out discrepancies in his statements and his testimony in court. "I never told the truth before 1999. Even your client might one day admit what he is denying today", he told the attorney. GBU had declared in his statements that in the week the followed the assassination of president Habyarimana on April 6, 1994, he had never left his home. Later, he admitted that from April 7, he had taken part in the massacres of Tutsis in his home commune of Mukingo, (district in Ruhengeri). He alleged that in April, Nzirorera had congratulated Interahamwe militias in Mukingo for having killed Tutsis. Robinson continued to insist that the witness was not credible at all. Nzirorera is jointly accused with two other former senior MRND officials; the president Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera, vice president. Also accused is a former minister of education in the interim government, Andre Rwamakuba. He has been boycotting the proceedings ever since they opened in November 2003 claiming that his case file was "manipulated" by the prosecutor. All four have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity. GBU's testimony 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/FH(GVI''0421e)