17.09.10 - ICTR/WEEKLY SUMMARY - RWANDAN GENERAL CHANGES POSITION OVER INTERAHAMWE REINFORCEMENT

Arusha, September 17, 2010 (FH) - The trial of former President of then Rwandan ruling party, MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and that of ex-Rwandan Mayor Grégoire Ndahimana, were the only events which featured  before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)  this week.
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In the trial of Ngirumpatse, three witnesses testified for his defence, including former Defence Minister, General Emmanuel Habyarimana, who gave contradictory statements regarding Interahamwe militiamen of the party to have them given reinforcement during the 1994 genocide.

General Habyarimana gave a written statement in October 1999 before ICTR prosecution, detailing that Interahamwe were financed, trained and armed with guns and grenades by the Ministry of Youths under its Minister Callixte Nzabonimana, a genocide-accused.

He narrated that people like Nzabonimana planted seeds of genocide in Rwanda and no such crime would have been committed had he and others with similar capacity objected to genocide.

On Thursday this week, however, General Habyarimana, changed his position, describing such statements as ‘'propaganda.'' He claimed to have cross checked facts and matched with the reality and found some were confirmed but others not.

The trial continues next Monday.  Ngirumpatse is charged with his vice-president Edouard Karemera, who has concluded presenting his defence, mostly for crimes committed by members of their party.

Meanwhile, the case of Ndahimana, former mayor of Kivumu Commune in Kibuye prefecture (Western Rwanda), charged with genocide or complicity in genocide, in the alternative and extermination as crime against humanity, has been adjourned to November 1.

Before the adjournment, the prosecution called six out of 15 witnesses it intends to field before closing its case on November 12.

Ndahimana allegedly planned massacres at Nyange Parish jointly with genocide-convict, Father Athanase Seromba, who has since been sentenced to life imprisonment and genocide-suspect still at large, Fulgence Kayishema. The prosecution claims that more than 2,000 Tutsis were killed at the Parish.

FK/NI/ER/GF

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