Arusha, March 5, 2004 (FH) – A prosecution witness in the trial of four former Rwandan ministers taking place at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), on Friday claimed that the former minister of Commerce, Justin Mugenzi was “materialistic”. The witness code-named “GMJ” to protect his identity, described himself as “an ordinary member” of the Liberal Party (PL) of which Mugenzi was president from 1991 to 1994.

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“Mugenzi changed radically when he became minister of commerce in 1993. He wholly espoused the ideology he used to fight. That is when we realised that he was materialistic”, declared the witness. “Before 1993, Mugenzi would teach us to fight discrimination …all ethnic groups lived in harmony within the party… PL was a really a good party”, continued GMJ. According to him, Mugenzi was “the kind of person who could accept to kill others for material gain”. GMJ, the 21st prosecution witness, testified for less than an hour on Friday and he will continue giving evidence on Monday. Mugenzi is co-accused with the former minister of health, Casimir Bizimungu, the former minister of foreign affairs, Jerome Bicamumpaka, and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of public service. All have pleaded not guilty to crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. The so-called “Government Two” trial is taking place in Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR, composed of Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana for Sri Lanka (presiding), Judge Lee Gacuiga Muthoga from Kenya and Khalid Rashid Khan from Pakistan. KN/ER/CE/FH (GVII'0305ee)