Rwanda-Belgium: Witnesses “trained and prepared” to give false testimonies in genocide cases

Apr 9th, 2013 at 16:34 | By | Category: News

According to a former witness in a Rwandan genocide case in Belgium, witnesses coming from Rwanda are ‘’trained’’ and ‘’prepared’’ by the current Rwandan regime and the Tutsi victims’ association Ibuka to give false testimonies on the events that took place in 1994.

témoinThe witness, whose identity has been hidden for safety purposes, explained his experiences in an episode of the Flemish TV show Terzake that was broadcasted on the TV station Canvas last Friday, April 5th. He reports the “preparation” of Rwandan witnesses before testifying in Belgian court hearings and claims he was instructed by Rwandan authorities to lie in his accusations of the defendant.

Rwandan judicial authorities are involved in it [the preparation of witnesses]. The Public Prosecutor drove me to the [Kigali] airport himself before I boarded the plane to Belgium (..) Rwandan authorities do not want to lose genocide cases abroad (..) If all witnesses were prepared in the same way that I was, then maybe all who were found guilty were actually innocent”, he declared, before adding that he did not want the Rwandan government to know who he is, because if they knew “they would hurt his loved ones in Rwanda”.

In the same emission, Filip Reyntjes, professor at the university of Antwerp, comments on the preparation of witnesses by Rwanda and confirms the existence of a tight cooperation between Ibuka and local prosecutors that aims at “preparing witnesses and serving them with scenario’s and scripts to memorize before sending them off to the trial hearings”. He also adds that witnesses who differ from telling the story as they were instructed to do by the regime risk ‘’sanctions and revenge’’, not only for themselves, but also for their families.

On his part, the Cameroonian journalist, Charles Onana, is quoted saying that the prompting of witnesses is a “well-organized system’’ that uses real victims of the genocide to testify against innocent defendants by acting as if the defendant was the actual perpetrator of the crimes committed against them. He concludes by noting that this system “will continue to exist as long as the RPF stays in power” and says he is “absolutely sure that witnesses will come to give false testimonies at the next Rwandan trials in Belgium”.

Belgium is said to host around 30 000 Rwandans and has, like many other European countries, trialed several Rwandans for their role in the Rwandan genocide. Up until now, twelve cases have been dealt with by the Belgian Public Prosecutor, most of them resulting in a conviction of the defendant. Witness statements have been known to play a key role in every case.

Jane Nishimwe


Link to broadcast  :

(from 32minutes onwards)

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