Arusha, February 2, 2010 (FH) -  Juvenal Kajelijeli, a former Mayor sentenced to 45 years in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide, accused Tuesday the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) of manipulating witnesses and forging evidence.

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Kajelijeli, who is serving his sentence in a Benin jail, is testifying since Monday in defence of Joseph Nzirorera, one of the three jointly accused in the so-called ‘'Karemera Trial'', bringing together top leaders of Rwanda's then ruling party, MRND.

"You manipulated the witnesses. You intoxicated the judges. I can prove it. In due time, you will be held accountable for what you did", Kajelijeli railed against Don Webster, a member of the Prosecution team who was conducting the cross-examination.

The Appeals Chamber of the ICTR has already ruled that legal assistance should be provided for Kajelijeli to prepare a rehearing trial.

"It will take time but the truth will come out", Kajelijeli  said.

" Are you trying to use Nzirorera's case to remake your own trial ?", Don Webster asked him.

"I am not trying to remake my trial. This I will do before the Upper Court. I am here to defend Nzirorera from the untruthful statements you brought against him", the former Mayor replied in a mix of French and Kinyarwanda.

The Prosecution alleges that both Kajelijeli  and Nzirorera, who was in 1994 Secretary General of MRND, were responsible for  the genocide in their hometown of Mukingo.

During his cross-examination, Kajelijeli refused to use the word genocide to qualify the massacres : "People died in Mukingo, Tutsis died, Hutus died, but I do not agree with your legal definition", he replied three times to the same question asked by Don Webster.

The ICTR has ruled in a former trial that the 1994 genocide was of " common knowledge" and that its occurrence did not need to be further substantiated.

Nzirorera, a civil engineer,  is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He pleads not guilty.

During his cross-examination, Don Webster tried to sap Kajelijeli's credibility in order to weaken his testimony in favor of his friend Joseph Nzirorera.

The other two defendants in the trial are former MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his deputy, Edouard Karemera, who has already completed his defence case.


© Hirondelle News Agency