Arusha, March 8, 2004 (FH) - A prosecution witness on Monday testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that former Minister for commerce Justin Mugenzi offered bribes to people in Nyanza area (Butare Prefecture ) in 1993 so that they could join the Liberal Party Hutu power faction. Mugenzi is co-accused in the Government II trial with the former minister of health, Casimir Bizimungu, the former minister of foreign affairs, Jerome Bicamumpaka, and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of public service.

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The twenty-first prosecution witness identified as GMJ to keep his identity secret told the court that Mugenzi started bribing people who were in the non power faction of PL after he was appointed minister. This was in a bid to woo them to join the Hutu power faction of PL. Mugenzi was the chairman of PL between 1991 and 1993“How were people brought to join political power factions”? the prosecutor asked. “Within the PL, people were bribed openly, they were rewarded with sugar and money,” GMJ answered. GMJ, who was a member of the PL non Hutu power faction, could not recall the exact time when Mugenzi distributed the sugar and money, only stating that it was around July and August 1993. Mugenzi allegedly made an announcement over the radio saying that his party had joined the Hutu power wing in 1993. After the declaration, GMJ said that the Minister visited Nyanza region where he met some members of the party and civil servants to inform them of the change. GMJ further testified that members of PL who refused to join the Hutu power wing were targeted and killed during the genocide. Their names were listed by a local president of the party, one Karake, and kept until the genocide began. “People who were in the non power faction were killed because they did not wish to join the Hutu power faction,” GMJ stated. During the genocide in 1994, all members of non Hutu power PL wing were killed except two people only, according to the witness. The witness stated that the PL non-power wing could not operate in Nyanza region because it did not have the blessings of the national leaders. Mugenzi who was the president of the party, spoke on radio stating that the non-power wing was like a “rotten puppy”. The trial continues on Tuesday with the evidence of another prosecution witness QTA. Government II Trial is before Trial Chamber Two where Judge Asoka de Zoyza Gunawardana (Sri Lanka) is presiding assisted by judges Lee Muthoga (Kenya) and Khalida Rashid Khan (Pakistan)PJ/CE/FH (GVII'0308e)