16.09.10 - ICTR/KAREMERA - FORMER RWANDAN DEFENCE MINISTER CONTRADICTS HIS OWN OLD STATEMENT

Arusha, September 16, 2010 (FH) - Former Rwandan minister of Defence, General Emmanuel Habyarimana who gave written statement in 1999 detailing that Interahamwe militiamen of the ruling party, MRND, were financed, trained and armed with guns and grenades, Thursday contradicted his testimony calling it ‘'propaganda.''
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‘'I have cross checked facts and matched with the reality. Some were confirmed but some not,'' Habyarimana said before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) during cross examination by Don Webster.

In the statement he made to the ICTR prosecution on October, 1999, in the case of Callixte Nzabonimana, former Rwandan minister of Youth, General Habyarimana narrated that Interahamwe were financed, trained in the use of weapons and given guns and grenade by the ministry of Youth.

‘'The facts are different from the reality now,'' he told the Chamber presided by Judge Dennis Byron though he had said in 1999 that his written statement was based on what he saw and lived through.

‘'People like Nzabonimana planted seeds of genocide in Rwanda. If he and others with similar capacity had objected genocide, there would be no genocide in Rwanda,'' part of the statement of his evidence indicated, ending up with calling for the punishment of such persons.

Asked to give details about the facts he discovered after this statement, the witness started elaborating on facts about the former Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), now the rulers in Rwanda whom he never mentioned in his statement.

‘'I had certain views of the facts that time. I described them as the truth. But after the research I found it differently,'' he alleged.

During re-examination by the accused Co-counsel, Frederic Weyl who also asked him the same question, General Habyarimana said his evidence rose and was influenced by the media and RPF propaganda.

He defended the accused, Ngirumpatse saying he could not have stopped killings or genocide because he did not have the means.

The witness went into exile in Switzerland after sharp difference with President Paul Kagame. He served Kagame's government at various capacities between 1995 and 2003 when he fled the country.   

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.     

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