12.11.07 - ICTR/MILITARY II - A WOMAN DENIES THAT GENERAL BIZIMUNGU TREATED TUTSIS AS ENEMIES

  Arusha, 12 November 2007 (FH) - A woman, called to the stand Monday, denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the former chief of staff of the Rwandan army, General Augustin Bizimungu, treated Tutsis as enemies and called for their elimination at a meeting in December 1993.
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According to the prosecution, the general would have gathered, on this date, administrative officials from the communal office of Nkuli, in the prefecture of Ruhengeri (northern Rwanda) to explain to them that "the enemy is the Tutsi"; that "the Tutsi is a nettle which must be uprooted".
 
"I am not aware of this meeting, such a meeting could not have passed unnoticed", affirmed the woman, designated, for her testimony, by the pseudonym, DB 11-26.
 
She explained that, due to her responsibilities at the time and the proximity of her residence to the communal office, she would have been informed if such a meeting would have taken place.
 
She added that even during hearings of the semi-traditional gacaca courts, this meeting was never mentioned.
 
Prosecuted for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, General Bizimungu has pleaded not guilty.
 
He is on trial alongside the former chief of staff of the national gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, the former commander of the recognition battalion, Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, who commanded a squadron of this elite unit.
 
Their trial began in September 2004. Bizimungu is the first to present his defence.
 
In a decision on 31 October, the chamber ordered his lawyers to be ready to rest their case by 14 December.
 
The judges also ordered General Ndindiliyimana to be ready to begin his defence in mid-January 2008.
 
ER/PB/MM

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