Arusha, April 22, 2008 (FH) - A Rwandan State Attorney, Jean Rusatira, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that Prosper Mugiraneza, former Minister for Civil Service during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, was not mentioned among the accused who took part in the massacres.

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Mugiraneza is charged for genocide and crimes against humanity alongside three other former ministers --Jerome Bicamumpaka, former Minister for Foreign Affairs; Casimir Bizimungu, ex-Minister for Health; and former Minister for Commerce Justin Mugenzi. All four have pleaded not guilty.

Led by Mugiraneza's American lead counsel Tom Moran, the defence witness, who was one of the members of the bench which handled genocide cases in Kigarama commune in Kibungo prefecture from where Mugiraneza hailed, testified that the accused's name never featured in the two judgments he participated to draft.

However, the witness failed to defend his argument when the Nigerian prosecuting attorney Ibonokulu Babajide mentioned to him a name of an accused, Cyasa Habimana, who he had admitted was one of the deadly killers but the name never featured in the documents which were tabled before the Chamber as supporting evidence.

"Do you agree that it is possible for somebody to be found guilty on an offence and then the name could not be mentioned in the two documents?" asked the prosecuting counsel. The witness quickly answered: "I don't understand the question well."

The unexpected response prompted a judge from the bench, Francis Short, to order the witness to answer the question, saying it was clear enough for a response.

Rusatira then reluctantly responded that he too also wondered why Habimana's name went missing in the document.

Earlier, the witness told the court that he saw the accused for the first time during the trial.

The witness concluded his two-day testimony Tuesday.

The trial, which is before Trial Chamber III presided by Judge Khalida Khan of Pakistan, continues.


© Hirondelle News Agency