Arusha, 14 October 2009 (FH) - The eldest detainee at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Yussuf Munyakazi, Wednesday denied that his two houses in south-western Rwanda were used by the notorious Interahamwe militia who spearheaded the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

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Speaking on the first day of his own testimony, the grey-haired 74-year-old said the Interahamwe could not have used one house because it was rented out to clients. Munyakazi told the court that the other house, built close to the Customs Office in Bugarama, could not haven been used for any purpose since it was still under construction until June 1994.

Munyakazi's statements follow allegations by some prosecution witnesses that Interahamwe militiamen used his two houses for their activities.

He is the last defence witness in the trial which began in April this year. Nineteen defence witnesses have already testified in the trial, which is considered one of the fastest this year.

The prosecutor rested his case on 4 June after having called 12 witnesses.

The accused was arrested in May 2004 in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he lived as an Imam [Muslim religious leader] under the name of Mzee Mandevu (literally meaning the bearded old man in Kiswahili).

The defendant continues his testimony on Thursday.


© Hirondelle News Agency