01.03.11 - ICTR/NZABONIMANA - NZABONIMANA NEVER INCITED PEOPLE TO KILL TUTSIS, SAYS WITNESS

Arusha, March 1, 2011 (FH) - A defence witness for genocide-accused and former Rwandan Minister of Youth, Callixte Nzabonimana Tuesday denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the defendant incited the population to kill ethnic-Tutsis in his native commune of Nyabikenke, central Rwanda.
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‘'I did not sleep during the day time in April, 1994. If Nzabonimana had used a megaphone to incite the population to kill Tutsis I would definitely have heard him,'' witness only identified as T56 for security reasons told the Chamber presided by Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa.

The accused is facing five charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder. He denied the charges.

Led in his examination in-chief by the accused Co-counsel, Philippe Larochelle the witness who claimed to have hailed from the same area as the defendant, categorically assured the Tribunal that he did not even hear people speak about it.

‘'I did not hear anyone talk about it. I was frequently around the area,'' the witness who was 22 years old during the massacres narrated.

He said he met the accused twice during the events of 1994. The first time he alleged was end of April and the second was early May at his native area.

‘'He came specifically for pledging his donation for the construction of the office of our sector and during his short speech he never mentioned the word ‘Tutsi','' he alleged.

He said the assailants who commenced attacks on April 17, 1994 almost on daily basis for two weeks ‘'never mentioned the name of Nzabonimana'' as being part of the attackers.

Asked by prosecution attorney Simba Mawere that he would not wish the accused to be imprisoned as he was a symbol of pride to his people, the witness was quick in his response and answered in the affirmative.

Cross examination then proceeded in closed session. The trial continues on Wednesday.

NI/FK/ER/GF

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