27.12.11 - ICTR/KAREMERA - MRND LEADERS HELD FAR-REACHING POWERS

Arusha, December 27, 2011 (FH) - A Trial Chamber at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) concluded on December 21st, in the face of the two former MRND leaders' vehement denial, that Matthieu Ngirumpatse and Edouard Karemera held far-reaching  powers over the presidential party and beyond during the 1994 genocide.
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Ngirumpatse and Karemera were respectively president and vice-president of the MRND.

The lower court ruled that they had full control over the party, notably its youth wing, the notorious Interahamwe, who were particularly well organized in Kigali and Gisenyi.

«Ngirumpatse and the Executive Bureau of the MRND represented the ultimate authority over the Interahamwe in Kigali-Ville and Gisenyi », the three judges stated in their written summary.

"The majority of roadblocks during the genocide were set up or manned by MRND Interahamwe or controlled by MRND Interahamwe. People identified as Tutsis were killed because of their ethnicity at most roadblocks. In Kigali alone, thousands of civilians were killed by militias and soldiers by 12 April 1994. Karemera and Ngirumpatse failed to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent their subordinates from further killing Tutsis and to punish them for committing these further killings", they concluded.

They also upheld that Karemera and Ngirumpatse had authority over the four MRND ministers participating in the interim government, and over Théoneste Bagosora, the then chief of staff of the Ministry of Defence.

However, the chamber admitted that the Prosecutor did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Interahamwe were from their creation in 1992 trained and armed to kill Tutsis.

According to the judges, the Interahamwe were founded to protect the MRND from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), then at war against the government. They were enrolled into a joint criminal enterprise on April 11, 1994, when they were given arms at the Hotel des Diplomates, in the presence of Bagosora and with the consent of Ngirumpatse, to exterminate whole or part of the Tutsi minority.  "The joint criminal enterprise continued until mid-July 1994", the judgment read.

ER/GF

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