Arusha, 17 June 2008 (FH) - A Rwandan called to the stand Tuesday stated before a Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that "to work" in 1994 meant in Rwanda "to kill ethnic Tutsis".

1 min 30Approximate reading time

Designated by the code name "AZM "in order to preserve his anonymity, the witness testified for the prosecution in the trial of the former acting Interior Minister during the genocide, Callixte Kalimanzira.

AZM was questioned by the prosecutor, Catherine Graham, about a speech made on 19 April 1994 by interim President Theodore Sindukubwabo and in which he called on several occasions his fellow-citizens of Butare southern Rwanda, to "gukora (to work in Rwandan)''.

The day after this speech made in a stadium in Butare, this region which was relatively calm up to that point, compared to the remainder of the country, was engulfed in the massacres. The term ‘'gukora'' received another significance.

People were going to kill Tutsis by saying that they were going to work, the witness said.

"To work then became synonymous with killing Tutsis", he regretted. This incriminating speech was made during the inauguration of the new Governor of Butare, Sylvain Nsabimana, in presence of Kalimanzira who was the master of ceremonies. "Did Kalimanzira speak to denounce this message of the president? ", asked Christine Graham of the office of the prosecutor. "No", the witness answered.

The prosecutor alleges that, by his silence, Kalimanzira, adhered to the contents of this speech.

Nsabimana is also on trial at the ICTR, while Sindikubwabo probably found death in his exile in the former Zaire (the current Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC).

AZM, the twelfth witness for the prosecution in the Kalimanzira case, also affirmed that the defendant took part in the majority of the meetings of the prefectoral security council of Butare even if he was not member.

"I believed that he jointly directed the prefecture with the Governor or that he was a representative of the government because the case of Butare was special", testified AZM who was a member of this council.

The witness was to be cross-examined afterwards by one of the defence counsels. Accused of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, Kalimanzira, a trained agronomist, has pleaded not guilty. His trial opened on 5 May.


© Hirondelle News Agency