01.10.10 - ICTR/WEEKLY SUMMARY - WITNESS ACCOUNTS WILD STATE DURING GENOCIDE

Arusha, October 1, 2010 (FH) - The trial of two former top leaders of Rwandan ex-ruling party, MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera was the only event which featured this week before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
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Ngirumpatse, the president of the party, was presenting his defence case and called three witnesses, including a human right activist, François - Xavier Byuma, who alleged that there were no resources which could enable the government to control violence and killings escalated in Rwanda in 1994.

Byuma, former President of Turengere Abana, a human rights organization deals with promotion and protection of children rights in Rwanda, testified that authorities and soldiers were displaced the same manner as the population following series of gun fire, bomb shells and attacks.

According to him, although Karemera was the minister for Interior beginning May 25, 1994, it was not practically possible for him to control some parts of Rwanda, leave alone the whole country.

The witness said he fled the Kigali capital on May 15, 1994 for Gitarama, where the Interim government had already left after deterioration of the security, following senseless massacres which were going on.     

After hearing of the witnesses, the Tribunal adjourned the trial to October 18. Since the start of his defence case on August 23, Ngirumpatse has so far called 15 out of 35 witnesses expected to testify in his favour. In his part, Karemera has already completed presenting his defence case.

Ngirumpatse and Karemera are charged with seven counts including genocide, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity, allegedly committed mostly by members of their party, its youth wing, Interahamwe, in particular.

The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party.   

FK/ER/GF

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