14.11.07 - ICTR/KAREMERA - THE MARSEILLAISE COMPARED TO AN INTERAHAMWE WAR SONG

Arusha, 14 November 2007 (FH) - Attacked by a witness of the prosecutor on a war song used by the Interahamwe militia during the Rwandan genocide, the defence of Edouard Karemera retorted by quoting the words of the Marseillaise, the French national anthem of which the tone has nothing on those of the Hutu militiamen.
0 min 48Approximate reading time

Karemera's lawyer, American Peter Robinson, read in session the last stanzas of the Marseillaise translated awkwardly by translators not accustomed to the military verses of Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle.

According to the witness, known as AWD for his safety, this song called "Tubatsembatsembe" (Kill All the Tutsis) would have been written by members of Simon Bikindi's folk group. The lawyers of the latter, who is currently awaiting judgment in another trial at the ICTR, formally deny any involvement.

The prosecutor, Iain Morley, a former British officer, capped with his wig, vainly tried to stop this comparison evoking "possible repercussions outside the courtroom". AWD, for his part, accused the lawyer of "insulting the French national anthem".

The chamber, presided by Judge Dennis Byron, also president of the tribunal, who has presided over this case for two years and is still hearing the prosecution's case, remained, logically, unflustered.

PB/ER/MM
© Hirondelle News Agency