Arusha, April 27, 2010 (FH) -Rwanda genocide-convict and a former Mayor Juvenal Rugambarara Tuesday admitted that the notorious Interahamwe militia were involved in the killings of Tutsi civilians in his area during the 1994 genocide.

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"Interahamwe took part in the killings. These are ones who perpetrated the killings of Tutsis in Bicumbi Commune [central Rwanda]," Rugambarara, who is currently serving eleven years jail term in Benin, West Africa, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

He was being cross-examined by Prosecutor Takeh Sendze when testifying as the 35th defence witness for genocide suspect Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of the then ruling Rwandan party, MRND.   

Nzirorera is jointly tried with his co-top MRND officials-- President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his former vice president Edouard Karemera.

The trio is charged with crimes committed by members of their party. The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party then in power in 1994 under President Juvenal Habyarimana. They have pleaded not guilty.

Rugambarara further conceded that the pro-Hutu Interahamwe militia was a youth wing of the MRND. Earlier, during examination-in-chief by Nzirorera's co-counsel, Patrick Nimy Mayidika, the witness told the court that neither Nzirorera nor MRND party had any control over the killings in his commune.

He further testified that at no point in time he heard the defendant talking about extermination of Tutsis. "An intelligent person like him could never use such a word. Nzirorera was accepted by the population, he spoke the truth... was a man of integrity," claimed the witness.

Meanwhile, former Kigali Prefect Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho Tuesday concluded his evidence in defence of Nzirorera by admitting that MRND top officials attended a meeting which formed the interim government on April 8, 1994 shortly after assassination of President Habyarimana.

Renzaho told the Tribunal that the MRND officials had met with former Director of Cabinet in the Rwandan Ministry of Defence Col. Theoneste Bagosora to discuss on the move in line with resolutions given by FAR commander officers, who assembled at the ESM Military Academy a day after.

The trial continues Wednesday.


© Hirondelle News Agency