Arusha, June 23, 2011 (FH) -Former Rwandan local administrative official Thursday denied before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) having conspired with ex-Planning Minister, Augustin Ngirabatware, to either commit genocide, exterminate and rape of Tutsis in his area in 1994.

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"You can only collaborate with someone besides you. I insist I did not see Ngirabatware in 1994. The conspiracy you are talking about never happened," said the official when testifying in Kinyarwanda as defence witness for Ngirabatware.

In his examination in chief led by the defendant's co-Counsel Mylene Dimitri, the witness code-named DWAN-71 to protect his identity further alleged that he neither collaborated with Ngirabatware to make hate speeches nor planning a joint criminal enterprise for the purpose of committing rapes against Tutsis.

"You cannot be in the same joint criminal enterprise with someone you had not seen him. We would, therefore, not come together to make such speeches. That never happened. There were no rape committed in my sector and no one mentioned about it," the witness said.

He further denied to have colluded with the accused to distribute weapons in order to kill Tutsis in his sector in Nyamyumba Commune, Gisenyi prefecture (North Rwanda), saying, "I have said repeatedly that there were no weapons distributed apart from the lone gun provided for the sector."

According to the indictment, Ngirabatware is accused, among others, with conspiracy to commit genocide with several officials, including those from the local authority and exterminate Tutsis in his home prefecture of Gisenyi.

After the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana, the accused is also alleged to have transported weapons to Nyamyumba Commune for being distributed to the notorious Interahamwe militias for the purpose of eliminating members of the Tutsi ethnic group in the prefecture between April and July 1994.

The trial continues on Monday. Ngirabatware hails from what used to be the Nyamyumba district Gisenyi prefecture (North of Rwanda). He is the son-in-law of Felicien Kabuga, the alleged sponsor of the 1994 genocide, who is still on the run.

He fled Rwanda in July 1994 and subsequently worked in various research institutes in Gabon and France. He was arrested in Germany on September 17, 2007 and has been in ICTR custody since October 8, 2008.


© Hirondelle News Agency