Arusha, September 02, 2010 (FH) - The fifth defence witness in the case of former President of the Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse Thursday claimed that youths who engaged in the looting and killings in Kigali city after April 6, 1994 were young people with no political affiliation but rather thugs.

1 min 12Approximate reading time

‘'That time we were not talking about Interahamwe (MRND militias) but youths who were thugs with no identification. They were thugs who were not answerable to any visible authority,'' said protected witness dubbed ‘'GRR'', a military officer stationed at the Rwandan Army Headquarters in Kigali during the time in question.

Ngirumpatse is jointly tried with his Vice President, Edouard Karemera before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Karemera had already concluded his defence case.  

Both have been charged for seven counts including genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by members of their party and its youth wing, Interahamwe militiamen.

Led in his examination in chief by the accused lead defence counsel, Chantal Hounkpatin the witness told a three men bench Chamber presided by Judge Dennis Byron that it would be ‘'wrong'' to identify those youths as Interahamwe.

‘'I cannot say they were Interahamwe or young people affiliated to a certain political party,'' he explained in response to Counsel Hounkpatin's question demanding to know who actually took part in the looting and killing spree.

During his testimony GRR also denied that the army trained Interahamwe militiamen.

‘'I did not hear or see the training of Interahamwe during the period I was attached to the Army Headquarters,'' he insisted.

The witness who spent several hours detailing the worsening security situation in Kigali city coupled with killings and looting also denied that the army distributed weapons to Interahamwe militiamen.

The Trial continues next Monday with the cross examination of witness GRR.


© Hirondelle News Agency