Arusha, February 18, 2003 (FH) - Genocide suspect and former prefect of Cyangugu prefecture (south west Rwanda) risked his life to save people during the 1994 genocide, former chief of Rwandan gendarmerie and genocide suspect, Gen. Augustin Ndindiliyimana told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) on Tuesday.

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”I know him as a person who was saving other people's lives at the risk of his own life”, Gen. Ndindiliyimana told judges. The general has been testifying for the defence since Monday. Bagambiki, 54 is accused of being one of the planners and leaders of the genocide in his home province of Cyangugu. The prosecution accuses him of attending and participating in meetings organising the genocide and coordinating killings of ethnic Tutsis throughout the genocide. He is jointly on trial with two former leaders from Cyangugu. They are; former minister of transport and telecommunications, Andre Ntagerura and former commander of the Cyangugu military camp, Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe. Prosecutor Richard Karegyesa of Uganda contested the credibility of Ndindiliyimana, saying, among other reasons, that the General had “vested” interests in seeing Bagambiki acquitted since they face the same charges. He also suggested that Ndindiliyimana wouldn't have known everything that was happening in Cyangugu since he had been there “only” three times during the genocide. On the other hand, Ndindiliyimana denied having any vested interests in the case saying that he was only testifying as a duty to defend “an innocent and highly respected man”. “I received gendarmerie reports from Cyangugu”, said Ndindiliyimana. “None of the reports talked of Bagambiki causing any trouble in the area. Instead, they detailed the cooperation he was having with the gendarmerie to diffuse violence in the area”, added the General. Gen. Ndindiliyimana is awaiting his trial at the ICTR for crimes related to the 1994 genocide. He will continue his testimony on Wednesday before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of judges; Llyod George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. GG/FH (CY'0218e)