Arusha, February 27, 2004 (FH) - A prosecution witness in the so-called Government Two trial on Friday told the International Criminal Tribunal forRwanda (ICTR) that the former Minister of health and genocide suspect Casimir Bizimungu never dismissed any Tutsi staff during his tenure as minister in charge of health. GAT, who was being cross-examined by Bizimungu's lead counsel Michelyne Chénard-St-Laurent (Canada), said the minister did not support dismissal of Tutsis in his ministry when he was minister between 1992 and 1994.

1 min 16Approximate reading time

GAT is the seventeenth prosecution witness in the trial involving Bizimungu, the former minister of Foreign Affairs Jérôme Bicamumpaka, that of Commerce, Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of Public Service. They each face six counts of genocide and crime against humanity. GAT testified mainly against Bizimungu in her chief examination which lasted two days. The witness, who had been a secretary at the ministry of health from 1986 to 1994, explained that assessment tests were done in the ministry and some employees who did not pass them were dismissed. “I cannot tell a lie against him (Bizimungu). He did not support the idea that those Tutsis who did pass the test be dismissed,” GAT said. The witness added that majority of the employees in the ministry of health were from the Hutu ethnic group but she could not give an exact number. GAT also said that staff from the ministry were required to attend meetings where they were sensitized about the objectives of MRND party. Some of those who did not attend the meetings were detained in prison for long, she said. Asked by the counsel if she was aware that the minister had appointed Tutsis to several key positions in the ministry of health, GAT answered that she was not aware of any appointments of Tutsis. The cross-examination of GAT by St-Laurent continues on Monday. 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'0227e)