Arusha, 26 May 2009 (FH) - The former Rwandan Interior Minister, who was also then the Vice-President of the ruling party, Edouard Karemera, on trial for genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Tuesday denied any responsibility in the massacres of ethnic Tutsis in Bisesero, a mountainous region of the former prefecture of Kibuye, where he hails from.

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Karemera, who has been testifying in his own defence since last week, is on trial alongside two other officials of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND), which was dissolved in 2001 by Rwandan government.

The former Rwandan leader, throughout the day, vehemently rejected the Bisesero massacres, sometimes responded at length.

Since the beginning of his testimony, Karemera has supported that the crimes committed during the genocide were acts of some uncontrolled "bandits" who capitalised on the situation.

The Prosecuting Attorney Don Webster exhibited a handwritten draft allegedly by former Governor of Kibuye, Clement Kayishema, which was intended for Karemera.

However, Karemera disputed the exhibit, saying there was no proof to show it was drafted by Kayishema since it was not signed and secondly, he had never seen that alleged document. 

According to Webster, the document underscored that Tutsis were yet to be killed and dubbed Bisesero as "dangerous zone". "This draft document was not transmitted to me", defiantly responded the defendant.

The testimony continued with sharp exchanges between the prosecutor and the defendant which at times forced presiding Judge Dennis Byron to step in to calm down the parties.

The testimony continues Wednesday.


© Hirondelle News Agency