03.11.09 - ICTR/KAREMERA - WITNESS DENIES SECRET MEETINGS IN HIS GRAND- MOTHER'S HOUSE

Arusha, 03 November, 2009 (FH) - A nephew of  genocide-accused Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of then Rwanda's presidential party (MRND), denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that secret meetings were conducted in the residence of the defendant's mother during the genocide in 1994.
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‘'I did not see any people of authority visiting my grandmother either during or after Nzirorera came home to see us,'' claimed Epimaque Nshizirungu, who by then was 11 years old. He added: ‘' It was impossible for any visitor to come to the house without my knowledge as I was the one who will open the gate for them [guests]''.

Led by the accused's co-defence counsel, Belgium Patrick Nimy Mayidika, the witness denied specifically that Col. Ephrem Setako and former Mayor of Mukingo Juvenal Kajelijeli ever came [during the genocide] to their residence, located in Mukingo Commune Ruhengeri Prefecture, northern Rwanda.

The prosecution has claimed that some covert meetings were being held at Nzirorera's mother's house for organizing massacres against ethnic Tutsis and were attended by people of authority like Setako and Kajelijeli, among others.

The witness also claimed neither his uncle Nzirorera nor the army could have stopped the large numbers of assailants.

The sixth witness has concluded his testimony. The trial has been adjourned to Wednesday. The defence has planned to field 55 witnesses.

Other accused persons in the joint trial include the former President of MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and his Vice President, Edouard Karemera. The latter has already concluded his defence case.

Nzirorera and his two co-defendants are charged mainly with crimes committed by members of their party. The Prosecution has indicted them for their command responsibility as top officials of the MRND, the party then in power under President Juvenal Habyarimana.

NI/SC/GF

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