Arusha, May 26, 2010 (FH) - A defence witness in the case of genocide-accused Callixte Nzabonimana alleged on Wednesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that a Rwandan mayor had compelled him to level false accusations against the defendant.

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Jean-Marie Vianney Mporanzi, himself a former Rwandan mayor, declared that he had acted under duress when making two false statements to ICTR investigators in 1998 and 2003 incriminating Callixte Nzabonimana, Minister of Youth in 1994.

Jean-Marie Vianney Mporanzi was led in his examination by the defendant's main counsel, French attorney Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse.

In 1997, Mporanzi had returned from Zaire (today's DRC) after three years of exile. According to his testimony, he was then coerced by the Mayor of Rutobwe commune, Charles Gahunde, to give false testimony to the ICTR investigators.

Mayor Gahunde allegedly urged him to accuse Nzabonimana of having incited to commit genocide in Rutobwe and of having released genocide perpetrators to perpetuate the killings in the commune between April and July 1994.

‘' It is fabrications and lies,'' Mporanzi told the tribunal.

Mporanzi admitted that he had made these allegations, even though he was not under the threat of being himself accused of having participated in the genocide.

 ‘'If I had refused to collaborate I would have run the risk of being imprisoned,'' the witness explained.

Concluding his testimony, Mporanzi stated that he appeared before the court, among other reasons, to apologize to Nzabonimana and also to "clean his soul".

Nzabonimana is facing five charges-- genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. He pleads not guilty.


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