Arusha, May 6, 2001 (FH) - Rwandan Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe, on trial for genocide, will testify before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in his own defence, his lawyer said on Friday. Cameroonian counsel Marie-Louise Mbida was speaking during cross-questioning of the 22nd prosecution witness in the case, a former soldier who was one of Imanishimwe's bodyguards in 1994.

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The witness had accused his former boss of participating in massacres during the genocide. Defence counsel Mbida told the court that Imanishimwe would himself explain to the court his activities at that time. The accused was commander of the military barracks in Cyangugu, southwest Rwanda, during the April to July 1994 genocide. He is on trial with two other suspects accused of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Cyangugu. They are former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki and former Transport Minister André Ntagerura. Prosecution says that Imanishimwe's influence was much greater than his rank of lieutenant would suggest, thanks to the fact that he came from the same region as former president Juvénal Habyarimana. It was Habyarimana's death in the April 6th, 1994, 'plane crash that sparked the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. Prosecutors say Imanishimwe participated actively in both the preparation and implementation of the genocide by training militia and distributing weapons. He has pleaded not guilty. AT/JC/FH (CY0506E)