Arusha, September 14, 2010 (FH) - Former Rwandan General and minister of Defence, Emmanuel Habyarimana Tuesday denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the youth wing of MRND ruling party in 1994, the Interahamwe, was created to exterminate Tutsi ethnic group.

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The General who served the current Rwandan government under President Paul Kagame, between 1995 and 2003 at various capacities including Member of Parliament, Director of Planning in the ministry of Defence and then, minister of Defence was testifying for the case of the former MRND President, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, jointly tried with his Vice President, Edouard Karemera.   

‘'Interahamwe was a youth wing like any other youth wing of other political parties in Rwanda. They were the forerunners in political meetings and rallies of their parties,'' General Habyarimana revealed during examination in chief led by the accused Co-counsel, Frederic Weyl.

He said other political parties such as MDR, PL, PSD, and even Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) also had their own youth wings aimed at, among other things, entertaining the population during political rallies and meetings.

The witness went on explaining that after April 6, 1994, RPF infiltrated into the population with weapons and posed as Interahamwe in various areas where he claimed planted grenades, killing people and even manned road blocks.

‘'RPF used tactics of infiltration. RPF members themselves told me that they infiltrated and posed as Interahamwe at the road blocks,'' the witness narrated, naming Major Furuma as one of the members of RPF who revealed the information to him.

According to the witness Major Furuma is no longer with the RPF whereas himself is now living in exile in Switzerland after sharp differences with President Kagame over the new constitution.

The prosecutor indicted Ngirumpatse and his co-accused Karemera who had already completed his defence case 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.

The witness continues with his testimony on Wednesday.  


© Hirondelle News Agency