Arusha, 30 November 2007 (FH) - A witness called by the defence of Protais Zigiranyirazo was rejected by the chamber because he asked to testify anonymously and wished to receive protection measures, reports Friday good sources in Arusha.

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Called by the pseudonym CJP1, this witness would be a former adviser of Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana for 12 years until December 1993. He was to be questioned on the operations of the presidential entourage. Protais Zigiranyirazo was the brother-in-law of President Habyarimana. He is accused of having planned the genocide and has pleaded not guilty.

Having come from North America, this man, evoking concerns for himself and his family, wished that his testimony be made under anonymity and that he be concealed from the public. The prosecutor was opposed and the chamber agreed with him. With this decision, CJP1 refused to go further and left Thursday evening.

"He was an essential witness" regretted Mr. John Philpot, Zigiranyirazo's lawyer, who confirmed this incident. As the prosecution's case is about to be rested, he had been solicited by the lawyer to prove that the administrative rules were complied with at the presidency of the Rwandan Republic before the genocide.

Besides expert witnesses, the large majority, more than 80 %, of the witnesses, Rwandans in general, have been protected by the ICTR. All agree that these measures are relatively illusory considering the density of the Rwanda population, the social grid and Rwandan sociology.

These measures did not prevent certain witnesses to have become victims of violence on their return to their country. One of them was even assassinated, without Rwandan justice seizing the case; not being able to prove the link between his testimony and his murder.

Several defence witnesses of Zigiranyirazo have, however, testified without protection.

© Hirondelle News Agency