22.08.07 - ICTR/RENZAHO - A WITNESS CLAIMS THAT RENZAHO DID NOT HAVE ANY POWER OVER SOLDIERS

  Arusha, 22 August 2007 (FH) - Tharcisse Renzaho, the former prefect of Kigali during the 1994 genocide, on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), did not have any disciplinary power over soldiers even if he was an officer, affirmed Wednesday a witness testifying in his favour.   
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Last representative of civil authority in the capital after the departure of the government, "Colonel Renzaho had a right of glance but not of discipline; he had to submit a report to those who had the power to sanction", explained the witness who testified under anonymity Wednesday afternoon.
 
"He did not have the power to sanction the army or the gendarmerie" he insisted.
 
The prosecutor alleges that "around 7 April 1994, and regularly after, Tharcisse Renzaho gave orders on the airwaves of Radio Rwanda, to soldiers, gendarmes, the militia, local citizens and demobilized soldiers, asking them to set up and maintain roadblocks for the purpose of intercepting, identifying and killing Tutsis ".
 
The witness, questioned by the co-counsel of Renzaho, Barnabe Nekui (Cameroon), explained why "he there were three armies in Kigali: RAF (Rwandan Armed Forces, regular forces (NDLR), the RPF (rebellious forces installed in Kigali within the framework of a peace agreement (note)) and the UNAMIR (United Nations forces charged to supervise the implementation of the peace agreement (note))".
 
He also refuted the allegations according to which Renzaho would have distributed weapons to the killers, explaining that the prefecture of Kigali had hardly any weapons.
 
He also indicated that they could not get some at the Ministry of Defense. "There were no weapons in the prefecture of Kigali. There were no weapons at the Ministry of Defense ", he stated.
 
According to the witness, "the weapons were at the logistic base of the Rwandan army" and very long administrative formalities were necessary to procure some.
 
Renzaho, 63, has been presenting his defence since May; this witness, a former soldier, is the 24th called by his defence.
 
The trial began on 8 January and must finish by next month. Renzaho is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity, notably for murder. He has pled not guilty.
 
Renzaho was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in September 2002.
 
Nekuie is assisting François Cantier of the Bar of Toulouse (France) in his defence.
 
PB/AT/MM

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