Arusha, February 9, 2004 (FH) - A prosecution witness in the trial of four former Rwandan government ministers on Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that one of the accused, Casimir Bizimungu, called for the training of Hutu youths in May 1994 to fight the Tutsis . The eleventh witness code-named GKI to keep his identity secret, explained that the former minister for Health said the Hutu youths were to be trained so that they could be dispatched from Gisenyi to go and fight Tutsis in Kigali.

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According to GKI, Bizimungu made the remarks during a meeting of government officials at Meridian Hotel in Gisenyi on May 21, 1994. “After giving his (Bizimungu's) speech, they ordered the youth to go for training in Gisenyi”, GKI said. After the training by the military the youth were then given weapons and transported in buses to Kigali to fight. Bizimungu is in a joint trial with Justin Mugenzi former Minister of Commerce, the former minister of Foreign Affairs Jérôme Bicamumpaka, and Prosper Mugiraneza, former minister of Public Service. Earlier, the tenth prosecution witness, code-named GKE, told the trial chamber that he joined the Interahamwe (youth wing of MRND) in1991 when he was 14 and was trained on how to use guns. GKE stated that after joining the group, he was informed by leaders of the organisation that he and other members were to fight Tutsis and kill them because they were depriving Hutus of peace. He went on that his routine in 1994 was to arrest Tutsis in his secteur and take them to the office of the conseiller (councillor's) office. “I personally killed some of those people,” he admitted. The witness also stated that the conseiller told them he had instructions from higher authorities to have the Tutsis Killed. Most part of his testimony was taken in closed session. The trial continues on Tuesday with the cross-examination of GKI by Bizimungu's lead counsel, Michelyne Chénard-St-Laurent (Canada). 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'0209e)