03.10.07 - ICTR/KAREMERA - A WITNESS ADMITS THAT HE CHANGES HIS TESTIMONY ACCORDING TO THE TRIAL

Arusha, 3 October, 2007 (FH) - A witness for the prosecution recognized Wednesday that he changes his testimony according to the trial in which he is testifying in before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) 
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Protected witness "AMB" has been testifying since Monday in the trial, known as "Karemera", of three former senior officials of the former governing party in Rwanda accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.

He had testified for the first time at the ICTR in February 1999 in the trial of Alfred Musema, sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

The two testimonies differ in many regards relating to the responsibility in the massacres on the hills of Bisesero, in the west of the country.

"The chamber must understand that your testimonies vary according to the people whom you have to accuse or not?", AMB was asked by Diagne Dior (Senegal), the lawyer of former Minister Edouard Karemera, one of the defendants.

Edouard Karemera was a vice-president of the governing party in Rwanda in 1994. AMB accused him of having played a crucial role in the attacks against Tutsis that had taken refuge in Bisesero between April and June 1994. Diagne Dior pertinently raised the point that when AMB had testified on the same facts in 1999, he had not even mentioned his client.

"My testimony changes when certain people are arrested. I say to you that there are people who have not been arrested and whom we have not yet accused. I say to you that my testimony changes as people are arrested ", answered the witness.

AMK maintained his position when the lawyer suggested to him that "the truth is immutable" and that he could not be melded to peoples' moods.

"I can talk about ten people today. There are also other people whom we thought had died and who have reappeared. And when they resurface, they are charged. We will continue to do it until these people are convicted", AMK stated.

Dior pointed out to him that, in this case, his logic had not been respected because Edouard Karemera was arrested in Togo on 5 June 1998, that is to say eight month before his first testimony at the ICTR.

AMK had been called by the prosecutor in the trial of the former director of the tea factory of Gisovu, near Bisesero, Alfred Musema, sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

In 1999, AMK had stated that the attacks on Bisesero had been directed by Musema assisted, in particular, by the prefect and the local mayors.

"I did not know that Mr. Karemera had been arrested when I testified in the Musema trial", the witness replied.

Edouard Karemera, who has pled not guilty, is on trial alongside Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Joseph Nzirorera, his colleagues within the direction of the former governing party, the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND)

This group trial began on 19 September 2005. The prosecutor should rest his case in March 2008 and the proceedings should last beyond the ICTR mandate, which ends in December 2008. The presiding judge of the chamber is Dennis Byron (Saint-Kitts and Nevis), who is also president of the ICTR. He is assisted by Burkinabean Judge Gberdao Gustave Kam and Danish Judge Vagn Joensen.

AT/PB/MM
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