KIGALI - The International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR), has rejected a request by an ex-official of the former MRND ruling party, Joseph Nzirorera, to have Paul Rusesabagina lined up as one of his witnesses.
Rusesabagina, a self-declared hero, claims to have saved the lives of Rwandans trapped at Hotel des Mille Collines during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
According to agencies, in a ruling dated February 22, the Chamber found that hearing Rusesabagina was not ‘an absolute necessity’ for Nzirorera’s defence.
When contacted, Deogene Bideri,a senior official at the National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG), equated Rusesabagina’s actions to those of the accused.
“Rusesabagina’s actions have made it clear that he is a revisionist and he harbours the double Genocide ideology.
So, it’s not surprising that Nzirorera who is accused of Genocide crimes can ask him to be his witness,” said Bideri who works as a senior Research Consultant at CNLG.
This is not the first time that Rusesabagina defends Genocide suspects on trial. In June 2009, he was called by the defence in the trial of three people on trial for Genocide in a UK court.
Judge Anthony Evans the Designated District Judge of the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, threw out his testimony saying that Rusesabagina’s evidence was not that of an independent expert, but rather that of a man with a background strongly allied to the extremist Hutu faction.
“… and as such cannot be considered as independent and reasoned. In the light of the bias displayed, I am satisfied that no weight can be attached to this evidence,” ruled judge Evans.
Theodore Simburudari, the president of Ibuka, an umbrella organization of Genocide survivors’ associations, said that for Nzirorera to ask Rusesabagina to be his witness, its evidence in itself that both men have in their agenda, spreading the double Genocide ideology.
A civil engineer, Nzirorera is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity.
He is being jointly tried with two other former MRND leaders: former MRND President, Mathieu Ngirumpatse, and his erstwhile deputy, Edouard Karemera.