KIGALI - The Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, yesterday said that he would not appear in the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR) to testify on behalf of Genocide-convict Colonel Théoneste Bagosora.
Bagosora asked the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal of the ICTR to order and compel the former Minister of Defence to testify in his appeal against the life imprisonment sentence he was handed for Genocide crimes.
In an interview with The New Times, Gatsinzi said that he would not testify on behalf of Bagosora, but if he was compelled to appear before the Arusha-based tribunal, he would be there to testify against Bagosora and pin him on the crimes.
“Those are just part of his manoeuvres to delay the case. Even the tribunal had dismissed his demands for me to testify because they found out that it was not necessary,”
“His claims are fabricated---he jumps from one statement to another and claims that I was with him even when he knows that I wasn’t. These are just tactics to delay the case,”
At the beginning of the so-called “Military 1” trial, Gatsinzi had refused to testify for Bagosora, but he later, in September 2006, agreed to testify by video link.
Trial Chamber I never considered him as a witness and now Bagosora, the former Director of Cabinet in the Defence Ministry, considered the mastermind of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, has again demanded for Gen. Gatsinzi’s appearance.
The court found Bagosora guilty for the killings of Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian peacekeepers in charge of her security, as well as crimes committed at several roadblocks in the Kigali area and in his hometown of Gisenyi (North-West of Rwanda) between April 6 and 9, 1994.
He was charged jointly with three other military officers, Brigadier-General Gratien Kabiligi, Major Aloys Ntabakuze, and Lt. Col Anatole Nsengiyumva of Genocide, among others.
Bagosora, Ntabakuze and Nsengiyumva were all convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment while Kabiligi was acquitted.