01.02.10 - ICTR/NGIRABATWARE - WITNESS ALLEGES EX-MINISTER DISTRIBUTED WEAPONS PRIOR TO KILLINGS

Arusha, February 01, 2010 (FH) - A prosecution witness in the genocide trial against the former Rwandan Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, alleged before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the accused deployed weapons to Nyamyumba commune in Gisenyi prefecture, northern Rwanda, almost three months before the April-July, 1994 genocide.
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‘'Representatives of several groups, including Interahamwe militia (for then ruling party - MRND-) and I, myself as a leader of Impuzamugambi (CDR party youth wing) received the weapons from Nyamyumba commune,'' narrated protected witness ‘'ANAN'' during examination in-chief by the prosecution counsel, Wallace Kapaya.

The indictment, among others, alleges that Ngirabatware forwarded to MRND party funds from his ministry to be used for the purchase of weapons for its youth wing, the Interahamwe militiamen.

The witness, who described the weapons including grenades and firearmsas ‘'tools of death'', said they were distributed after a communal meeting of about 300 people held in December in 1993 at Kanyabuhombo School in Nyamyumba,  an hour's walk from the communal office.

‘'During the meeting he told us that he had promised some people weapons to protect ourselves from the invading enemies, Inyenzi (meaning ethnic Tutsis). They will be distributed to young people to carry out the work [meaning killings],'' ANAN told the Chamber presided by Judge William Sekule of Tanzania.

ANAN is the second witness to testify since the resumption of the trial on January 25. The trial continues Tuesday.

Ngirabatware, who is also son in-law of the former Rwandan wealthy businessman and alleged financier of 1994 genocide Felicien Kabuga, commenced on September 23, 2009.

Kabuga is among the most wanted suspects by ICTR.

NI/SC/GF

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