Arusha, June 15, 2011 (FH) -Former Rwandan local administrative official alleged before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday that ex-Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, never set foot in his commune during genocide.

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"I saw him (Ngirabatware) for the last time in 1993 during the communal election," assistant Mayor of Nyamyumba Commune in Gisenyi prefecture (North Rwanda), Edison Nsabimana, alleged when he was testifying as defence witness for the defendant.

Nsabimana, who was in charge of administration, judicial and political affairs, said that in March 1993 there was election of communal mayor and Faustin Bagango was declared victorious.

In his examination in chief by the defendant's Lead Counsel Peter Herbert, the witness said Ngirabatware had attended the election, as a member of the technical committee.

Doubting the witnesses' testimony, prosecuting Counsel Rashid Rashid cross-examined him on a number of areas to show that the presence of Ngirabatware in Nyamyumba Commune after the election of the mayor was highly possible, considering his membership in the committee.

The prosecutor suggested to the witness that according to the law in Rwanda, the technical committee of a commune was supposed to meet at least twice in every quarter of the year.

However, the witness was quick to respond," I do not know the law governing functions of such committee. I am testifying on events I witnessed. I have not seen the committee meeting twice in three months as you suggested."

The prosecution charges Ngirabatware of, among others, conspiring to commit genocide between January and July 1994 with several individuals, including Bagango, who was part of the large plan to prepare and orchestrate the killings of Tutsis in the commune.

According to the indictment, during genocide, the defendant held several meetings in the commune of which Bagango and other officials were in attendance and he planned, instigated or ordered the killings of the Tutsis.

The trial continues Thursday. In the case, Ngirabatware is charged with genocide or in the alternative conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and extermination and rape as crimes against humanity.


© Hirondelle News Agency