Arusha, 24 March 2009 (FH) - The seventh protected defence witness Tuesday gave contradictory evidence from her written statement in the trial of former Rwandan lawyer charged with contempt of court, Leonidas Nshogoza, before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), reports Hirondelle Agency.

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Nshogoza has been accused of having tried to subvert cause of justice by trying to bribe prosecution witnesses to retract their statements in favour of the former Rwandan Minister for Education and Culture, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, who has already been convicted for genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2004.

The witness, code-named "A10" to protect her identity, stated in her written statement to the prosecution in 2005, and an interview conducted by the defence in November 2008, that she did not see protected witness dubbed as "Number 21" on the day of massacres against ethnic Tutsis in Gikomero Parish in Kigali Rural on 12 April, 1994, but in her testimony before the UN Court Tuesday she told the court just the opposite.

‘'I went to Gikomero on April 11....and I saw Number 21 in the compound of the Gikomero Parish on April 12, 1994,'' the witness told the bench in response to Kenyan Lee Muthoga, one of the Judges of Trial Chamber III, who sought to know where exactly did the witness spot "Number 21".

This forced the lead counsel for the accused, Canadian Allison Turner, to file an oral motion before the court to declare "A10" as a hostile witness, a request which was granted by the bench.

The witness repeatedly admitted that her 2005 statement was correct and what she told Counsel Turner in November 2008 was equally correct but after she was squeezed further in cross examination, the witness apparently changed her mind.

‘'In 2005 I gave a false statement, but now I am telling you the truth before the Chamber,'' said the witness, adding that "Number 21" had pleaded with her never to mention that she saw him[Number 21] in Gikomero because that would send him to prison.

‘'Previously I attempted to protect number 21, but now I believe that I am in trouble and I have to save myself,'' she responded to Counsel Turner's suggestion that she was in breach of UN rules for contradicting her own evidence.

The witness has concluded her testimony. It is not known whether the court will take any action against the witness for giving contradictory testimony.

Four more witnesses have yet to testify in the trial, including the accused himself.


© Hirondelle News Agency