ARUSHA 14 May 2002 (Internews) The prosecution in the trial for genocide suspect Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda today closed its case before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), after presenting 27 witnesses.
The trial is adjourned until 19 August when the defense will present witnesses to testify for Kamuhanda, 48, a former minister for education and scientific research in Rwanda.
During today’s proceedings, Aicha Conde, lead counsel for Kamuhanda, cross-examined the witness — identified only as “DAL.” The attorney claims the witness has lied about Kamuhanda.
The attorney said that contrary to DAL’s claim that he was in Kigali during militia attacks in April 1994, the “truth is that you were not there.”
Conde also challenged the witness’ claim that Kamuhanda was a minister when the genocide began in April 1994, saying that Kamuhanda was appointed minister on 25 May 1994. Before his appointment, Kamuhanda was director of education and scientific research.
The attorney pointed out that DAL’s oral testimony contradicts two statements he made in 1995 and 1999. She underlined that in his first statement in 1995, a year after the genocide, DAL claimed that he was trapped in Gisenyi Province in April 1994 because the pro-Tutsi Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) had surrounded his house.
DAL’s second statement in 1999 indicates that the witness was in Giti District, Byumba Province, in April 1994 and went on foot to Ngororero, in eastern Gisenyi (past Kigali and Gitarama provinces) before boarding a vehicle that took him to Mukamira, 30 kilometers from Gisenyi Province, which is located in western Rwanda, bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In his main evidence yesterday, Conde pointed out, DAL claimed that Kamuhanda gave him a lift up from Kigali to Gitarama but his 1999 statement has him in Byumba. DAL alleged that he crossed Lake Muhazi from Byumba Province into Kigali. “There are three different versions of DAL’s statement,” Conde told the court.
Under re-examination by Mark Moore of the United Kingdom, senior prosecution attorney, DAL explained that he couldn’t recall the exact dates. “But I’m saying the truth. I’ve an impression that she [Conde] doesn’t want to accept the truth… her suggestions [on the statements] is not correct,” DAL insisted.
DAL testified yesterday that Kamuhanda praised ‘Interahamwe’ militiamen for killing ethnic Tutsi at roadblocks in Kigali during the genocide. He testified that he heard Kamuhanda’s remarks because he rode in the same car with him on 21 April 1994.
Kamuhanda has denied nine counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. He allegedly committed the crimes in Gikomero commune, Kigali, between April and June 1994.
The trial is held before Trial Chamber II of the ICTR, comprising Judges William Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), Winston Matanzima Maqutu of Lesotho and Arlette Ramarason of Madagascar.