25.02.08 - ICTR/GOVERNMENT - GENOCIDE SURVIVOR COMES TO RESCUE OF FORMER MINISTER MUGIRANEZA

Arusha, 25 February 2008 (FH) – A genocide survivor Monday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the former Minister for the Civil Service during the genocide, Prosper Mugiraneza, did not take part on 9 April 1994 at a massacre planning meeting of ethnic Tutsi in Kigarama, eastern Rwanda.
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According to the protected witness, only known by code name of RDI for safety reasons, the meeting in question was held at the residence of a magistrate named only by one name Rwatoro, with the participation of the mayor of Kigarama, Emmanuel Mugiraneza.

The surname of the magistrate and the former minister has no family relationship.

RDI stated that people who were in Rwatoro's residence during the meeting had not mentioned the defendant among the participants.

"He was a very important person, if he had been there, people would have talked about it, everyone would have known it", she stated.

The witness was responding to attorney, Elvis Bazawule, who suggested that she could not have noticed the presence of Prosper Mugiraneza, as she was hiding.

She stressed that the former minister, who is originally from Kigarama, "was known by a lot of people in the region."

After the meeting at Rwatoro's residence, an attack was launched, resulting in several deaths of Tutsis who had taken refuge at the communal office, according to RDI. She claimed that her husband was among
those wounded in the assault.

Accused of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity, Mugiraneza, is on trial alongside with three of his other colleagues. All four have pleaded not guilty.

Mugiraneza has been calling since last Monday his witnesses. He is the last defendant to present his defence case. RDI was the sixth witness.

The trial opened in November 2003.

ER/PB/MM/SC
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