Arusha, April 5, 2004 (FH) - The ninth prosecution witness in the so-called Government One Trial on Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the Tutsis were killed in Ruhengeri prefecture in 1994 to avenge the death of President Habyarimana. The accused in the case are the former president of MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, his vice president Edouard Karemera, the Secretary general of MRND, Joseph Nzirorera as well as Andre Rwamakuba, former minister of primary and secondary education.

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The witness identified as GFA to keep his identity secret, informed the trial chamber that members of the Interahamwe including himself were given orders by government leaders on April 7th to avenge the assassination of the president. “We were told we needed to defend our country but most of all, to avenge Habyarimana's death “, GFA claimed. He added that most of the killings in Ruhengeri took place between April 7th and 8th 1994. President Habyarimana's plane was shot down on April 6th 1994 as it approached Kigali Airport. The witness was being cross-examined by Ngirumpatse's lead counsel Charles Roach (UK). GFA further absolved the Interahamwe from the killings insisting that the government leaders implemented the plan to have the Tutsis massacred. He said the Interahamwe were only executing orders from leaders whom he did not specify. The cross-examination of GFA continues on Tuesday. 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''0405e)