29.08.07 - ICTR/RENZAHO - PREFECT RENZAHO TAKES THE DEFENCE OF FATHER MUNYESHYAKA

Arusha, 29 August 2007 (FH) - Tharcisse Renzaho, former prefect of Kigali, while testifying for his own defence before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) took the defence Wednesday of Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, also indicted before this Tribunal.   
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"This priest did admirable things for the refugees (Tutsis). His absence would have constituted a catastrophe; he braved threats and danger" to bring food to these refugees, testified the former prefect of the Rwandan capital.
 
"Very sincerely; there must be political reasons" behind his indictment, estimated Renzaho for whom the priest is a victim of a campaign of "vilification of the catholic church ".
 
He accused the current Rwandan regime of having "a grudge" against the Catholic Church, to nourish "a hatred against the Hutu priests"
 
According to the one who was the last government representative in the capital, Father Munyeshyaka was not responsible for the parish of the Holy Family but went in all the refugee centers held by the Catholic Church to bring food.
 
As the number of refugees in the parish of the Holy Family went up to 18 000 according to Renzaho, the various attempts to evacuate this center located in the heart of Kigali always failed because of military action by the RPF. They carried out bombardments on 12 and 16 April as well as 1 and 3 May before attacking the center to evacuate Tutsis and to kill Hutus, Renzaho stated.
 
In the afternoon, questioned by his lawyer François Cantier of the Bar of Toulouse (France), the defendant referred to the similar charges uttered against him and Father Munyeshyaka. According to him, the indictment that was drawn up against him accuses him of killing the children and the husband of a woman called Rose Rwanga on 22 April 1994 in the Center of African Languages Studies whereas Father Munyeshyaka is accused of having killed the same people on 13 April at the parish of the Holy Family. "It is odd" he said as the tribunal was embarrassed by this mention of an indictment external to the case at hand.
 
PB/MM

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