Arusha, 18 November, 2009 (FH) - Genocide-convict and former Deputy Governor of Busengo in Ruhengeri prefecture, Dismas Nzanana, denied that  Joseph Nzirorera, ex-Secretary General of the former ruling party in Rwanda (MRND), played any role in the massacres of Tutsis in April 1994.

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The witness first narrated how he himself actively participated in hosting the Tutsis in his office, where they were attacked and some got killed and later transferred the survivors to the Appeals Court building where they also ended up being slaughtered by allegedly the Ruhengeri population.

The prosecution alleged that Joseph Nzirorera together with other local authorities, including gendarmes, were responsible for ordering the two attacks or had reason to know about it.

‘'Nzirorera did not play any role at all. It is rather today that I am hearing this allegation,'' the witness told the Chamber presided by Judge Dennis Byron in response to the accused's co-defence counsel, Patrick Mayidika, during examination in-chief.

Nzanana, who is the 12th defence witness, also denied that Nzirorera made several calls to Busengo asking if there were Tutsis hiding in the area.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

Nzirorera is jointly tried alongside two other senior MRND leaders before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) including its ex-president, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and the vice-president, Edouard Karemera. Karemera has already completed 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 superior responsibility as top officials of the MRND, the party then in power under President Juvenal Habyarimana.


© Hirondelle News Agency