08.11.07 - ICTR/GOVERNEMENT II - BICAMUMPAKA WANTED PEACE - A FORMER RWANDAN DIPLOMAT

  Arusha, 8 November 2007 (FH) – An exiled former Rwandan diplomat, Isidore Rukira, stated Thursday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jérôme Bicamumpaka, was preoccupied by the return of peace to his country in 1994.
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Rukira, who testified by video conference from The Hague, was ambassador of Rwanda to China and North Korea during the genocide.
 
He affirmed that on 10 April 1994, Bicamumpaka had sent to all the embassies of Rwanda a fax in which he explained why one of the three objectives of the interim government was "to bring back peace" and to continue "the negotiations with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) for the application of the Arusha Peace Accords".
 
In May 1994, the defendant, on his way to New York, telephoned, from Paris, to repeat to the ambassador his attachment to peace, still according to the testimony.
 
"He gave me instructions; he said to me to approach the ambassador of the United States (in Beijing) and ask for their intervention with the RPF and Uganda so that the war would end, which I did ", indicated Rukira.
 
According to the main defence counsel, Michel Croteau, the sphere of activity of Bicamumpaka, "was diplomatic relations and not internal affairs".
 
Bicamumpaka is being tried alongside the former Ministers of Health, Casimir Bizimungu, Trade, Justin Mugenzi and Civil Service, Prosper Mugiraneza. Their trial, known as "government II", began on 6 November 2003.
 
Accused of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, the four have pleaded not guilty. Bicamumpaka is the third of the group to present his defence case, after Mugenzi and Bizimungu.

ER/PB/MM
 
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