Arusha, January 19, 2011 (FH) - Genocide-accused and President of the ruling party in Rwanda in 1994, MRND, Mathieu Ngirumpatse Wednesday alleged before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that his party was for peace and unity for all Rwandans.

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‘'Our speeches, manifesto, structure, constitution and even our motto was for peace and unity,'' Ngirumpatse told a three-men bench presided by Judge Dennis Byron.

Led in his examination in chief by his Co-counsel, Frédéric Weyl, Ngirumpatse described as ‘' propaganda'' concept of moderate Hutus and Hutu extremists, blaming the media, opposition parties and the Rwandese Patriotic Front as agents of that propaganda.

‘'They wanted us (MRND) to loose our bearing,'' he alleged stating that one of the reasons he joined the MRND party and not the opposition was that it stood for peace, unity and democracy and it was open for dialogue and reconciliation for Rwandans.

Ngirumpatse who was testifying in his own defence for the second day also denied that people were expelled from his party on ethnic grounds.

‘'No one was excluded, discriminated or expelled from the party because of being Hutu, Tutsi or Twaa,'' he said, insisting, that was their policy.

The witness elaborated that he was happy to serve Rwandans during genocide and did not attempt to dump them and go to exile like what many others did. ‘'I believe I am the hero for serving other people. I do not regret staying behind. I made a difficult choice in difficult circumstances. It was easier to abandon the people but it was more difficult to stay behind,'' he narrated.

Ngirumpatse who continues with his testimony on Thursday is jointly tried alongside his Vice President, Edouard Karemera who has already concluded his defence case.

The two are charged mainly with crimes committed by members of their party. The Prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the MRND.


© Hirondelle News Agency