Arusha, May 18, 2010 (FH) -Former Secretary General of MRND then Rwandan ruling party, Joseph Nzirorera, told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday that he had no any administrative powers in 1994  to either control or punish perpetrators of killings within and outside his party.

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He, therefore, questioned the rationale behind the prosecution's plea for him and other two senior party leaders, President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera, to be held responsible for crimes allegedly committed by their members.

"We were just political leaders. MRND members were not employed under me or Mathieu Ngirumpatse or Edouard Karemera. I do not know whether a political party can be considered like a firm. We had no control of their salaries we could deduct in case they defy our instructions," Nzirorera told the UN Tribunal.

Nzirorera was testifying for his own defence when he maintained that as secretary general of a political party he had no any coercive measures that he could take against members who misbehaved.

"What I can do is to note such misbehaviour with regret. I had no powers in the Rwandan administrative set up. My duty was to advice to stop the crime. That is what I did and I was so sincere," he testified.

He testified further that like any other person with humanity, leaders of the MRND party were concerned with the war situations prevailing in Kigali and its environs before and after the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994 and, therefore, they acted by calling members of the population to restore peace and security.

"We would not have acted in such manner if we were not sincere. In addition five political parties issued a communique to appeal to the members of the population to restore peace and youths not to kill each other and commit rape... We tried perhaps we did not succeed. But here we are now," he testified.

In the trial, Nzirorera is tried jointly with Ngirumpatse and Karemera with crimes committed by members of their party. Karemera has already completed his defence. Nzirorera's defence testimony continues Wednesday.


© Hirondelle News Agency