04.06.07 - ICTR/RENZAHO - RENZAHO DID NOT HAVE ANY AUTHORITY OVER THE MILITIA (RWANDAN RED CROSS)

Arusha, 4 June 2007 (FH) - Tharcisse Renzaho, a former prefect of Kigali, accused in at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), did not have any authority over the militias nor on the road blocks which they controlled, stated the former delegate of the Rwandan Red Cross who had come to testify in his favour on Monday.
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Protected by anonymity, this witness who clearly explained before the Tribunal that he had directed the Rwandan Red Cross at the time of the genocide, stated that Renzaho did not have any real power with his 30 police officers and that the local Red Cross, as well as the International Red Cross Committee, had never requested safe passage from him.

"Sorry for him but the police was the joke of the militia", stated the witness who had obtained from the militia leaders a document to allow his ambulances to circulate.

According to the witness, Renzaho, who is accused of complicity with Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka in aggressions and rapes committed at the parish of the Holy Family in the center of Kigali, came only once to this place with a delegation of the United Nations, Red Cross and the government to study the creation on this site of a "humanitarian safe zone".

Questioned on the assistance that Renzaho would have, according to the charges, brought to the militia, the witness stated that on the contrary "the militia could have nourished Renzaho" and supplied him in gasoline thanks to "war stockpiles" that they had constituted by plundering abandoned houses. "I saw him in his shelter, it felt like poverty", he said, stating to have taken refuge in the cellar where the prefect slept under his office at the time of a RPF bombardment.

Renzaho's trial started on 8 January this year. The defense called its seventh and eighth witnesses on Monday and is expected to call another twenty. The Chamber is composed of judges Erik Mose (Norway), assisted by judges Serguei Egorov (Russia) and Rita Arrey (Cameroon).

PB/ER/MM
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