Arusha, 19 June 2009 (FH) - The first prosecution witness in the first ever re-trial of former Rwandan military officer, Lt. Col. Tharcisse Muvunyi, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday that the accused used  Rwandan proverbs to incite Hutus to kill Tutsis.

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The accused, added the witness, insisted that Tutsis, be male or female, they had to be slaughtered to death if they were married to Hutus.

Led in Examination-in-Chief by ICTR Prosecution Senior Counsel, Charles Adeogun Phillips, protected witness code-named "FBX "to shield his true identity for security reasons, explained that the defendant uttered the words at a public meeting in Gikore trading centre in Nyaruhengeri commune, Butare prefecture, south Rwanda in May 1994.

The particular significance of Muvunyi's speech, according to Phillips, was the use of Kinyarwanda proverbs which contained inflammatory language such as referring the Tutsis as ‘'inyenzi'' (cockroaches) or inzoka (snakes).

The accused was earlier found guilty of genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and other inhuman acts by the court of first instance and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment on September 12, 2006 but the penalty was cancelled by the Appeals Court and ordered a retrial on one count, particularly on the speech made by the accused at the Gikore commercial centre

Meanwhile, a Rwandan Evangelist, now living in exile in Tanzania, Thursday came to the defence of the former Rwandan military officer, Lt. Col. Ephrem Setako accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in 1994, claiming that the suspect was an innocent person.

David Biramahire was part of the series of close circles of friends of the accused to prove an alibi that the suspect was in Kigali between night of 6th and and 7th April, 1994 was in Kigali at his residence.

The witness, who fled to Setako's house in Kigali, with his Tanzanian wife, stressed that indeed that Setako was in the Rwandan capital.

The prosecutor alleges that the accused on 7th and 8th April, 1994 was in Mukingo and Nkuli Commune, Ruhengeri prefecture, planning genocide.

The witness concluded his testimony Thursday.

Meanwhile, the ICTR has requested from the Kenyan authorities to furnish it with an evidence of an alleged departure from their territory of the most-wanted Rwanda genocide fugitive, businessman Felicien Kabuga.

 "All efforts including my recent mission to Nairobi in March 2009, to obtain from Kenyan authorities the particulars and circumstances of his [Kabuga's] alleged departure from Kenya have been fruitless", stated the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, in an interview with Hirondelle Agency Tuesday.

 According to Jallow, the Director of Immigration Services in Nairobi informed the Tribunal on 8 January, 2009 that Kabuga had already left Kenya.

Regarding other suspects at large, the Gambian-born Prosecutor had stated that there were consultations in progress with the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where the majority 12 fugitives are suspected to have holed up.


© Hirondelle News Agency