Arusha, February 13, 2004 (FH) - The twelfth prosecution witness in the trial of four former Rwandan cabinet ministers, Friday claimed at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), that the former minister for Public Service, Prosper Mugiraneza, was behind killings of Tutsis at his Gasetsa secteur in Kibungo prefecture. Mugiraneza is in a joint trial with Casimir Bizimungu, former Minister for Health, the former Minister of Commerce, Justin Mugenzi, and the former minister of Foreign Affairs, Jérôme Bicamumpaka.

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The witness dubbed "GJV" to conceal his identity, told the trial chamber that Mugiraneza, the former head of gendarmerie, Pierre-Celestin Rwagafilita, and a councillor called Munyaneza, planned the killing of Tutsis in Gasetsa secteur during the 1994 genocide. Asked why he thought the killings were planned by the leaders, GJV replied that it was not possible for the massacres to be planned on short notice, immediately after the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6th 1994. He further stated that the leaders who were in power at the time had planned the genocide in all parts of the country. GJV who was being lead in his chief evidence by prosecuting counsel, Ibukunolu Babajide (Nigeria) added that Mugarineza who was a minister since 1992 and a member of MRND did nothing to stop killings of Tutsis at Gasetsa secteur. "When killings were being committed Mugiraneza was in Kigali and he never came to stop the killings", he said. The witness, who is a Hutu, said the Tutsis were massacred at Gasetsa secteur by Interahamwe who were youth wingers of the MRND party. "It was Interahamwe who killed them and threw them in pit latrines", the witness stated. GJV informed the trial chamber that his wife who was a Tutsi was killed during the genocide by the Interahamwe. GJV stated that 84 mass graves in which Tutsis were buried were discovered in Gasetsa after the genocide. During cross-examination Mugiraneza's lead counsel Tom Moran (USA), challenged the witness's testimony, arguing that the witness had no personal knowledge that Mugiraneza and Rwagafilita had planned killings, to which the witness acknowledged. He said that he only knew that the two, who were members of MRND, had recruited Hutus into the party before the genocide. The next prosecution witness, LEL, could not testify as she was said to be unwell. Her testimony will be heard on Monday. The so-called "Government II" trial is before Trial Chamber Two of the ICTR where Judge Asoka de Zoysa Gunawardana (Sri Lanka) is presiding, assisted by judges Lee Muthoga (Kenya) and Khalida Rashid Khan (Pakistan)PJ/KN/AT/FH (GVII''0213E)