Arusha, 04 February, 2009 (FH) - A former accountant with the Rwandan Interior Ministry, Marc Siniyobewe, alleged before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday that his former boss, Calixte Kalimanzira, ex-Cabinet Director who is on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity, had no discriminatory tendencies against ethnic-Tutsis as claimed by the prosecution. Kalimanzira also briefly acted as Interior Minister during the peak of the 1994 killings.

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The 60-year old defense witness told the Chamber that the accused carried out his duties smoothly without intimidating any one in terms of ethnicity.

‘'I never observed such a thing. There were several Tutsis working at the general secretariat and he did not cause any problems to any one of them,'' Siniyobewe affirmed in response to question asked by French co-defense counsel, Anta Guisse, during Examination-in-Chief.   

The witness, who now lives in exile in Nairobi, Kenya, explained that he met Kalimanzira on April 18, 1994 in Murambi, Gitarama prefecture where the government of the day operated from after escaping Kigali city following the security deterioration.

He said he continued working with Kalimanzira from the Murambi prefect office on April 19 and 20, 1994. But on April 21 and 22 he left for a mission to the nearby Ngororero area.

According to him, the accused kept on performing his duties until May 30, 1994 when they hurriedly left Murambi following heavy bombardments separating them from each other until they met again in exile in Nairobi.

In the course of the Examination-in-Chief, the prosecuting counsel, Christine Graham, complained that the defense team did not notify his part that this witness would testify on Kalimanzira's alibi as it was legally supposed to be the case.

Presiding Judge, Dennis Byron, noted the issue but allowed the defense to continue with the witness.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

 The most serious accusations against Kalimanzira relate to the role he played in the massacre of thousands of Tutsis who had sought refuge on Kabuye Hill and his participation in search of Tutsi refugees at arboretum forest where it was alleged Hutus were ordered to locate Tutsis to kill them.

According to the UN about 800,000 people mostly Tutsis and moderately Hutus were killed during the 1994 Rwandan massacres prompting the establishment of ICTR shortly after to prosecute those who took part into the killings.


© Hirondelle News Agency