Arusha, March 30, 2004 (FH) – The ninth prosecution witness in the so-called Government I trial testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday that former MRND Secretary-General Joseph Nzirorera established the party's youth wing, Interahamwe in Mukingo Commune and supported its operations. Nzirorera is co-accused with the president of the former ruling party, the MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, his vice president Edouard Karemera, and the former minister of primary and secondary education, André Rwamakuba.

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The witness who was also a member of the Interahamwe, told the trial chamber during his chief examination by prosecuting attorney Don Webster (Jamaica) that Nzirorera played an important role in the creation of Interahamwe in Mukingo commune, Rehengeri prefecture. The youth wing was set up in 1991 in Mukingo. The witness, code-named GFA, added that the accused also gave instructions on what the members of the militia were supposed to do and gave them uniforms. “He would give us money and sometimes transport. I would say we were like his boys,” the witness stated. GFA said Nzirorera distributed the first batch of uniforms to members of Interhamwe in August 1992,. Asked if he personally saw the accused bringing the uniforms, GAF answered, “he personally distributed them at his house in Mukingo commune. ” On that occasion, more than fifty members of the Interahamwe received uniforms, he added. During the distribution, Nzirorera allegedly urged the Interahamwe to monitor all the activities of Tutsis because Ruhengeri had been attacked in 1993 by the RPF. GFA who said he has known Nzirorera since his childhood, testified further that the accused gave one of his buildings to Interahamwe which they used as a venue to hold meetings. The witness recalled that several meetings were held at Nzirorera's house in Mukingo in 1993. At the end of the meetings, held according to the witness almost every weekend, the Interhamwe were given instructions on what they were to do. The trial resumed on Tuesday after being suspended indefinitely on Monday. The trial Chamber had put off the trial after Karemera asked the judges to disqualify themselves for not being impartial. The chamber rejected the motion on Tuesday. The suspects who had boycotted the trial on Monday turned up in court on Tuesday except Rwamakuba who has boycotted the proceedings since the the beginning of the trial on November 27th last year. He claims the case has been manipulated by the prosecutor. The trial continues on Wednesday with the testimony 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''0330e)