The Minister for Disaster preparedness and Refugee Affairs, Gen.Marcel Gatsinzi, yesterday travelled to Arusha Tanzania to testify in cases related to genocide suspects and convicts, including Theoneste Bagosora.
Robert Bimenyimana, a Public Relations Officer in the ministry, confirmed the development adding that the minister travelled at the invitation of the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR).
According to sources at the tribunal, Gatsinzi will neither testify for the defence nor the prosecution, but will do so on behalf of the trial chamber.
Gatsinzi’s appearance in Arusha is mainly motivated by the fact that he was, for a short period, the Chief of Staff of the then government forces during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi
“The minister got an invitation from ICTR to go and testify on a few issues concerning the participation of Bagosora and his co-accused in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi,” Bimenyimana said in an interview.
Bagosora, who was handed a life sentence in late 2008, has since appealed against the ruling.Gatsinzi is expected back on April 2.
Bagosora had earlier requested the Appeals chamber of the ICTR to order Gatsinzi to testify at his hearing. Gatsinzi told reporters that he would go to Arusha only if the ICTR officially invited him.
Bagosora, who was a Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, is regarded as the mastermind of the Genoide.
He was convicted for, among other crimes, ordering the killing of former Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana and 10 Belgian soldiers.