"It was well known, gendarmes did not get along with the Interahamwe, they were not on the same wavelength", stated the witness, himself a former gendarme.
Known only by the code name "CBP-72" to preserve his identity, the witness was testifying for the defence of the former Chief of Staff of national gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana accused of crimes of
genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The prosecution alleges that gendarmes, soldiers and militiamen worked, hand in glove, to commit the 1994 genocide, which resulted, according to UN, killed about 800,000 people, primarily ethnic Tutsis.
The witness disputed these allegations, affirming, by way of examples that gendarmes had pushed back in April 1994 an attack launched by the Interahamwe on Tutsis who had sought refuge in the buildings of the
Saint-Andrew College in Kigali.
"They (interhamwe) occupied the areas where the gendarmerie was not present", he explained.
He added that after the beginning of the genocide, the gendarmerie could no longer arrest criminals, because, he said, people had fled.
The proceedings were deferred to next Monday when new witnesses will testify in the case.
"CBP-72" is the 24th witness to testify for Ndindiliyimana, who has been presenting his case since 16 January.
Ndindiliyimana is on trial alongside three other officers of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF), including the former Chief of Staff of Rwandan army, General Augustin Bizimungu.
After Ndindiliyimana, it will be the turn of the former commander of the reconnaissance battalion, Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, to start his defence.
Last will be Captain Innocent Sagahutu who commanded a squadron of this elite unit.
The trial is presided by Sri Lankan Judge Joseph Asoka De Silva. It opened on 20 September 2004.
© Hirondelle News Agency