Arusha, August 15, 2011 (FH) - The defence case of former Rwandan Planning Minister Augustin Ngirabatware resumed Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) with a witness denying that the accused distributed weapons in his Nyamyumba commune, North Rwanda.

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The female witness, code-named DWAN45 to protect her identity, was studying at the Trinity College in that commune between 1990 and 1994. She was asked by Peter Herbert, lead counsel for the accused, whether she had any knowledge of the accused distributing weapons in the commune during that time.   

"I neither heard of nor saw such a thing,'' the 14th  defence witness told the court presided by Judge William Sekule.

In the trial, 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.

The indictment alleges that the accused distributed firearms and grenades to the Interahamwe militias of his ruling MRND party in Nyamyumba commune which were used to kill or cause bodily harm to the Tutsi population.

The witness also said that Ngirabatware visited the Trinity College in 1992 to hand over new buildings and she had not seen him again since then.

Asked whether the accused made any anti-Tutsi comments during the handing over ceremony, the witness quickly replied that he had not.

Ngirabatware, who hails from what used to be the Nyamyumba Commune, 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.


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