FORMER Minister of Defence, Emmanuel Habyarimana, early this week contradicted his own testimony before judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), The New Times reports.
The development, which the ICTR has described as ‘a possibility that this might damage Habyarimana’s credibility’, occurred on Thursday as the former minister was being cross-examined by the tribunal’s judges.
Habyarimana had in 1999 made a written statement detailing that Interahamwe militias were financed, trained and armed with guns and grenades, and pinned former Rwandan minister of Youth Callixte Nzabonimana for having played an instrumental role in causing the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis.
“I have cross-checked facts and matched them with the reality. Some were confirmed while others were not,’’ Habyarimana is quoted by agencies as having told the court.
“The facts are different from the reality now,” he told the chamber, though he had earlier said that his statement was based on what he saw and lived through.
He told the court presided over by ICTR President Judge Dennis Byron that after research, he realized that what he said was not the truth.
Contacted yesterday, ICTR Spokesperson, Roland Amoussouga said that the tribunal might not prosecute Habyarimana due to the fact that the statement he made in 1999 was written and that the testimony was not made under oath.
He however hastened to add that there is a possibility that this contradiction will lead to damage of his credibility before the judges.
“What he told the prosecution during the investigation process is different from what he told the judges. There will be a credibility gap depending on how the judges look at it,” he told The New Times by phone from Canada yesterday.