Arusha, 19 February, 2009 (FH) - A prosecution witness in the trial against Rwandan lawyer Leonidas Nshogoza, charged for contempt of court at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), claimed that he stated complete lies when he was interrogated by the Rwandan and Tribunal investigators between 2005 and 2007.

1 min 21Approximate reading time

The witness code-named "GAA" to protect his identity, who is also the fifth and last prosecution witness, declared that he stated "bunch of lies when interrogated by investigators."

Nshogoza is accused to have tried to bribe "GAA" to pervert course of justice during the trial of a former Rwandan Education and Culture Minister Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, who was handed imprisonment for remainder for his life in 2004 and confirmed  by the UN Appeals Court in September 2005.

According to GAA, he was first interviewed by the ICTR special investigator, Lorreta Lynch, in 2005 about the allegations that the accused, Nshogoza, promised to bribe him so as to retract his previous testimony.

When cross examined by Nshogoza's Canadian defence Counsel, Allison Turner, GAA claimed that eight excepts of interviews between him[GAA] and Lorreta conducted on September 29, 2005, he claimed were untruthful.

The interview centred mainly on whether or not GAA was in Gikomero Parish, the then Rural Kigali prefecture where the prosecution claimed Kamuhanda incited and committed killings against Tutsis.

The witness lied to investigator Loretta that he was not in Gikomero, but before the Chamber judges Thursday, he said that he was actually in the area.

GAA also admitted to have told lies to the Rwandan government investigator, Silas Usengumuremyi, who wanted to know what motivated him to retract his testimony in the Kamaunda case.

It was alleged that he was promised to be given about one million Rwandan Francs (US $ 2,000).

The witness repeatedly told the Chamber not to follow what he stated in his statements to the two ICTR and Rwandan investigators and instead accept his new testimony before the court " which was truthful".

The defence is scheduled to start its case on March 6.

GAA was found of contempt of court in 2007 and was imprisoned for nine months.


© Hirondelle News Agency