Arusha, 14 July, 2008 (FH) – Adrian Havungimana, former body-guard of the Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion in the Rwandan army Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, claimed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Monday that his former boss had spent the night in his office at the Camp Kigali following the tragic death of former President, Juvenal Habyarimana on April 6, 1994. The aircraft carrying President Habyarimana was shot down by unknown assailants as it was approaching the Kanombe airport in Kigali.

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Also killed in the same plane was Burundi’s President, Cyprian Ntaryamira. Both of them were returning from a regional peace meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“He would get out of his office and stroll around the compound looking anguished and perhaps perplexed,” responded Havungimana in Examination-in-Chief by the accused’s Lead Counsel, Cameroonian Charles Taku. The suspect is charged jointly with three other former army officers in a case known as “Military II”.
The defence witness said that on the night of the plane crash, he observed several senior army officers, including the Deputy Commander of Reconnaissance Battalion, Captain Innocent Sagahutu, also an accused in the trial, holding a meeting in Major Nzuwonemeye’s office as he guarded from outside the meeting venue.
According to the witness after the meeting, Capt. Sagahutu hurriedly left with four armoured vehicles to protect sensitive government institutions, including banks.
The prosecution, among others, has alleged that the accused and soldiers under their command took an active part in the killings of ethnic Tutsis immediately after the word went around over the death of President Habyarimana.
The witness also explained that on April 7, he was assigned to protect the family of Major Nzuwonemeye and four days later they left Camp Kigali for Kilinda and thereafter to Gisenyi, North West Rwanda, in June where he met Major Nzuwonemeye again.
Before concluding his testimony, the bench was compelled several times to remind the witness to answer the prosecution questions as he looked reluctant to answer in cross examination.
The defence which had already called 17 witnesses so far, still has four more witnesses to testify.
Other defendants in the case are former Chiefs of Staff of the Gendarmeries National and that of the Army, Generals Augustin Ndindiliyimana and Augustin Bizimungu respectively. The two have already concluded their testimony.
Their trial began in September 2004.