Credit and debit of a banker

27 June 2005 by Franck Petit

As the trial of the two Rwandan businessmen reaches its third week before the Brussels criminal court, Ephrem Nkezabera, a former banker and Interahamwe leader, presented a detailed financial portrait of his once "model" client, Etienne Nzabonimana, the main defendant in the dock.

With his wire-framed glasses, firm voice and educated locution, a former director at the Rwanda Commercial Bank (BCR) cut an imposing figure in court. Yet his position is a delicate one, given that he is also accused and detained in Belgium under the law of universal jurisdiction. Ephrem Nkezabera even ignored the advice of his lawyer not to come and testify, on 26 May, in the trial of Etienne Nzabonimana and Samuel Ndashyikirwa.

His lawyer Gilles Vanderbeck, who is also defending Ndashyikirwa, felt it would not be wise for his client to expose himself while his case is being processed, but his client "talks a lot and wants to talk". And Nkezabera is not just anybody: until the end of the genocide, he was also the president of the Interahamwe militia's national commission of financial affairs *see IJT n° 25+. Since 1998, he has been one of the main informers for the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Forty hours of his testimony are kept under seal in the ICTR archives.

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