Arusha, April 1st, 2011 (FH) - Genocide-convict and former Director of Cabinet in the Ministry of Defence, Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, Friday admitted before the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) for the first time that genocide was committed in Rwanda.

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‘'I kneel down before all the victims of Rwandan genocide. I still
claim that I am a victim of strong RPF (Rwandese Patriotic Front Rebels)
propaganda which started the massacres and hence triggered genocide of which
the prosecution failed to prove the planning ,'' Bagosora told the Chamber
presided by Judge Patrick Robinson.

Testifying in his own defence on October 24, 2005 before the Trial
Chamber, Bagosora who is considered by prosecution as mastermind of 1994
genocide denied that it had occurred. ‘'I do not believe in the genocide
theory. Most reasonable people concur that there were excessive

In his 10-minute address to the Appeal Chamber Bagosora
disassociated himself with the tragedy claiming that there was "no
material evidence that the crimes committed were coordinated and that I
coordinated them.''

He went on saying ‘'I admit that between April 7 and 9, 1994, I
replaced the Minister of Defence but with limited powers. In my capacity as
Director of Cabinet, I could not act as the minister because I did not have all
the ministerial powers.''

He pointed out that the prosecution failure to prosecute RPF, in a
way tarnished the image of the UN Tribunal.

In his part, another appellant, Lieutenant Colonel Anatole
Nsengiyumva told the Chamber that he did everything possible to control
soldiers under him. ‘'I did everything to prevent my soldiers from committing
crimes and I succeeded, contrary to what had been said,'' he emphasized.

He elaborated that he helped many people who were under threat
during genocide to cross the border to the former Zaire, now the Democratic Republic
of Congo (DRC).

According to Nsengiyumva, who was the Commander of Military Operation
in Gisenyi prefecture, Northern Rwanda, he was
happy when he heard that the United Nations would set up a Tribunal to try
perpetrators of genocide but ended up regretting. ‘'I expected to testify about
the events but I was surprised to find myself among the suspects,'' he

The Appeals Chamber Friday concluded hearing the appeal cases for
this session.


Hirondelle News Agency