Arusha, May 17, 2010 (FH) -Genocide suspect Joseph Nzirorera, former Secretary General of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Monday denied setting up plans to exterminate Tutsis before or after the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994.

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"I neither had any plans nor incited extermination of Tutsis. I neither had any thought of killing anybody in my life," Nzirorera told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) when testifying for his own defence.

Examined by his lead counsel Peter Robinson, Nzirorera told the ICTR Chamber that he never abetted anyone to kill other people nor having groups under him involved in the killings or committing other crimes like rape.

Before Nzirorera's testimony, Col. Theoneste  Bagosora, a considered master-mind of the 1994 genocide, entered the witness box and told the UN Tribunal that he would withdraw from testifying for Nzirorera's defence if his lead French lawyer Raphael Constant would be penalized for his failure to attend the court sessions.

He claimed that his lawyer's schedule was tight up and the registry has to consult him [Constant] first before setting up a date for his appearance.

The Tribunal, however, ordered Constant to appear before the court on June 21.

Nzirorera is tried jointly with former MRND President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice President Edouard Karemera with crimes committed by members of their party. Karemera has already completed his defence. Nzirorera's defence testimony continues Tuesday.


© Hirondelle News Agency