Arusha, April 7, 2004 (FH) – A prosecution witness in the trial of four former high-ranking Rwandan officials on Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he participated in the 1994 genocide in order to protect his Tutsi mother. The trial known as Government I involves former president of the MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, his vice president Edouard Karemera, the Secretary- General Joseph Nzirorera, and the former minister of primary and secondary education, André Rwamakuba.

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The ninth witness code-named GFA stated during his cross-examination that the only way to ensure his mother remained alive was to participate in the killing of Tutsis at Ruhengeri Prefecture. “My mother was among those who were supposed to die and among the killers was her son. I did everything I could so that she remained alive” GFA declared. GFA confessed to genocide crimes in September 2002 and is awaiting sentence by the Rwanda national courts. He was among the leaders of the Interahamwe in Mukingo commune. Ngirumpatse's lead counsel Charles Roach (UK) accused the witness of coming to testify at the ICTR so that he will be rewarded by being set free. GFA denied the allegations insisting that he only offered to come and state the facts he witnessed during the 1994 genocide. The trial continues on Thursday with the cross-examination of GFA. Government One trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of Judge Andresia Vaz from Senegal, (presiding) and ad litem judges Flavia Lattanzi from Italy and Florence Rita Arrey from Cameroon. PJ/CE/FH (GVI''0407e)