Arusha, February 17, 2003 (FH) - Genocide suspect and former chief of General staff of the Rwandan gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, on Monday began his testimony in defence of another suspect, former prefect of Cyangugu (south west Rwanda), Emmanuel Bagambiki at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR). Bagambiki, 54 is accused of being one of the planners and leaders of the genocide in his home province of Cyangugu.

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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. Ndindiliyimana held various ministerial positions prior to his appointment as Chief of General staff. In his brief appearance, he testified that as prefect, Bagambiki had greatly facilitated development programmes in his prefecture. “He was very helpful. Things would have been different if he hadn't been prefect. ” he said. “Little would have been achieved”, he added. Ndindiliyimana will continue his testimony on Tuesday. Earlier on Monday, a former professor at the National University of Rwanda, Mathias Cyamukungu, also testified for Bagambiki. He said that Bagambiki was “a highly respected leader who wouldn't have been involved in any killings”. He also testified that the former prefect had hidden and saved “many” ethnic Tutsis. The trial is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of judges; Llody George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding), Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. GG/FH (CY'0217e)