Arusha, 22 November 2007 (FH) - A Belgian expert-witness, Filip Reyntjens, called Thursday, at the end of his testimony before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), not to confuse the official flow chart of the Rwandan state in 1994 with the chain of command of the genocide.    

1 min 48Approximate reading time

"The real flow chart of the genocide is not the same as the official flow chart", supported professor Reyntjens, explaining why in 1994, the génocidaire forces could "clearly short circuit" the official authority. According to him, it is not because subordinates committed crimes that their leaders, civil or military, are inevitably guilty.
A law professor at the University of Antwerp, and former professor at the National University of Rwanda (NUR), R/eyntjens testified as an expert for the defence of the former mayor of Ngoma, Joseph Kanyabashi, whom he knew in Butare, in southern Rwanda.
National place of knowledge, centre of importance of the Ngoma commune, the town of Butare, main city of the prefecture of the same name, held other important establishments such as the School of Warrant Officers (ESO) and the Rwandan Company of Matches (SORWAL).
In the opinion of the expert, these structures put all their weight on all the sectors of life in the region and their officials, often from other parts of the country, constituted "parallel forces", "competing powers" which, in reality, escaped from the effective control of Mayor Kanyabashi.
He supported that the authority of the mayor of Ngoma had been further diluted during the genocide. "Nothing indicates that Kanyabashi approved the massacres of Tutsis. If not, I would not be here before you" to testify for him, added Reyntjens. An expert-witness in many prosecution cases since the beginning of the tribunal, Reyntjens announced, in January 2005, the suspension of his collaboration with the prosecution as long as no member of the RPF would be indicted by this tribunal.
Kanyabashi is on trial alongside the former Minister for the Family and Women's Development, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, an alleged former militia leader, Arsène Shalom Ntahobali, the former prefects of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana and Alphonse Nteziryayo, and another former mayor.
Indicted for crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, all six have pleaded not guilty, but with very divergent lines of defence which often degenerates, before the judges, in sharp confrontations which the prosecutor silently enjoys when he does not incite them by siding with one or the other of the accused in the conflict.
This trial, which is the oldest and undoubtedly also the most expensive of the history of the ICTR, opened in June 2001.
Kanyabashi's defence will be followed by that of the former mayor of Muganza, Elie Ndayambaje, who is still waiting to call his witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency