Arusha, 24 May 2007 (FH) – A witness rejected on Thursday the allegations of extremism formulated against the former prefect of Kigali, Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, indicted for genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
Witness Jean-Baptist Butera, a doctor, presided the Ecologist Party (PECO) in 1994, a small "centre" political group, his indicated. "I affirm that Renzaho was not an extremist", declared Jean-Baptist Butera who stresses that he knows the defendant very well.
Renzaho and Butera are originally from Kibungo in eastern Rwanda and were both members of a body in charge of the development of the area. The two men worked in Kigali, one as a prefect, the other as a director of the National Program for the Fight against AIDS (PNLS) and were acquaintances. Butera indicated that the entourage of Renzaho included both Hutus and Tutsis.
The former prefect denies to have belonged "to extremist clan" preaching the extermination of Tutsis. His lawyers intend to show "the brittleness" the prosecution’s arguments.
Renzaho is represented by the Frenchman François Cantier and the Cameroonian Barnabe Nekuie.
Butera is the fourth witness of his defense, which began last week.
The prosecutor alleges that Renzaho took part in the massacres of Tutsis; in particular, in two religious centers of the Rwandan capital. He is pleading not guilty.
"Mr. Renzaho will prove that with the limited resources which remained to him, he continued to come to the assistance of people without discrimination", his defense declared.
Renzaho, 63 years old, was stopped in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in September 2002. His trial began on 8 January of this year.
The prosecutor called 26 witnesses, which some are “repented".
The defense plans to call the English criminologist Kent Roach to the witness stand in order to prove "the extreme danger to international justice that the use of "informer" or "repented” witnesses can cause.
© Hirondelle News Agency