Arusha, November 13, 2009 (FH) - The Prosecution Monday alleged that the former Rwandan Minister for Youth during the 1994 genocide, Callixte Nzabonimana, abused his position and influence by inciting the population in his native prefecture of Gitarama to pursue and kill ethnic Tutsis.

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Making his opening remarks before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Senior Trial Attorney Paul Ng'arua said that the accused whom he described as ‘'the butcherer of Gitarama'' instead of protecting and serving Rwandans, decided knowingly to participate in the planned genocide with other authorities using the state machinery.

Nzabonimana is facing five charges-- genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder-- in the amended indictment signed by ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow on October 4, 2008. Accoreding to the prosecution, many Tutsis were killed following the accused orders.

The accused was only represented by his two defence counsels at the opening apparently to protest over the prosecutor's late disclosure of some documents and delayed translations.  

Meanwhile, a defence witness claimed Thursday that inmates in Rwanda make false statements against accused persons tried in Arusha by the UN Court in order to get released.

Led in his examination in-chief by American defence counsel Peter Robinson, witness code-named ‘'16'' to protect his identity, alleged that a group of about 40 detainees at Ruhengeri prison, including himself, were advised by the Rwandan officials to falsely accuse the former leaders as part of the condition to get released.

He added that without implicating the former authorities, their confessions would not be accepted. The witness was testifying in the defence of the former Secretary General of the Rwandan presidential party (MRND), Joseph Nzirorera.

Nzirorera is jointly tried alongside two other senior MRND leaders, including its ex-president, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and the vice-president, Edouard Karemera whose defence case has already been completed.

The witness, who was convicted in Rwanda for his involvement in genocide and sentenced to 20 years in prison, would continue with his testimony on Monday. He is the tenth defence witness out of the expected 55.

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

In another development a prosecution witness in the trial against the former Rwandan Director in the Ministry of Family and Women Affairs, Jean Baptiste Gatete, Wednesday alleged that the accused's speech made a day after the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana provoked killings against many ethnic Tutsis in several areas in Kibungo prefecture, eastern Rwanda.

‘'There is no other work to do now apart from killing ethnic Tutsis,'' the 17th prosecution witness dubbed ‘'BBR ‘'to protect his identity  recalled part of the speech allegedly made by the defendant at Rwankuba sector on April 7, 1994.

Gatete is facing charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity to which he has claimed innocence.

The prosecution case started on October 20.

On Monday, the trial of former Deputy Governor Dominique Ntawukulilyayo resumes.The defence has already presented 16 witnesses. Eight more witnesses, including the accused himself are expected to testify.



© Hirondelle News Agency