Arusha, January 20, 2003 (FH) - Former commander of the Cyangugu military camp in south west Rwanda, Lieutenant Samuel Imanishimwe began on Monday his testimony at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Imanishimwe, 41, is charged with several counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

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Among other accusations, he is charged with ordering the arrest and execution of several ethnic Tutsi civilians at the military camp of Cyangugu. He is jointly accused with two other former politicians from the Cyangugu region. They are exTransport and Communications Minister André Ntagerura and former Cyangugu prefect Emmanuel Bagambiki. The three have pleaded not guilty. The ‘Cyangugu trial' began on September 18th, 2000. Imanishimwe's testimony dwelt on his military training and career before the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He began his testimony at the resumption of court hearings in ICTR's Chamber Three. The chamber had been in the endofyear judicial recess until January 13th. Last week, they deliberated on the Semanza judgement. Born in Rwerere commune in the north west Rwanda province of Gisenyi, Imanishimwe went on to attend primary, secondary and college education in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. He then did four years of military training at the prestigious Ecole Supérieure Militaire (ESM) in Rwanda. After two weeks of military training in Belgium, Imanishimwe was posted to the Bugesera military academy as an instructor. In 1990, a year after he had joined the academy, he joined the Rwandan armed forces in the war againstthe Rwandan Patriotic Front. Imanishimwe was appointed commander of Cyangugu military camp in 1993 after a brief spell at the headquarters of the Rwandan armed forces in Kigali. Imanishimwe was arrested in Kenya in 1997. At the beginning of his defence, Imanishimwe's team told the court that they would bring witnesses to prove that Imanishimwe had, contrary to prosecution allegations, never participated in any meeting planning the genocide in Cyangugu. The killings in Rwanda, according to Imanishimwe's defence counsel, MarieLouise Mbida of Cameroon, "were precipitated by a series of assassinations and crimes committed by the RPF (predominantly Tutsi rebel movement) during its advance on the country. "Imanishimwe will continue his testimony on Tuesday. This trial is before Trial Chamber Three of the ICTR composed of judges Yakov Ostrovsky of Russia, Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis (presiding) and Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia. GG/CE/FH (CY0120e)