Arusha, Tanzania, 5 March 2008 (FH) - Former Tanzanian Inspector General of Police (IGP) Harun Mahundi Wednesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the ex-Rwandan Chief of Staff of Gendarmerie Nationale, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, who is facing genocide charges, was a peace loving person.

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"He was cool minded and very polite person who loved tranquility for the people of his country," Mahundi told the UN Court.

Led in his testimony by Ndindiliyimana's Canadian defense lead Counsel, Christopher Black, IGP Mahundi explained that the accused was not a person who was "fond of military confrontations."

The accused is charged alongside three other former Rwandan senior army officers for the crimes committed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

They include former Chief of Staff, General Augustin Bizimungu, former Commander of Reconnaissance Battalion, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and his deputy, Captain Innocent Sagahutu. All four have pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity.

Mr Mahundi said that he had good working relations with General Ndindiliyimana especially between September and November 1993 when the latter visited Tanzania to find out the possibility of training Rwandans in combating riots.

According to the defense witness, Rwanda by then was engaged in peace negotiations with the former Rwandan Patriotic Front rebels (RPF) who controlled the Northern part of Rwanda whereas the government controlled the South.

In view of the fact that the RPF soldiers were British trained and gendarmes were French trained, General Ndindiliyimana had wanted Tanzania to train the gendarmes so that when peace was attained, the two forces could smoothly integrate.

"He pegged hope on peace negotiations," the former IGP recounted, adding that the training he had asked for was for the preparedness purposes in case of serious riots in the country in future.

During the reciprocal visit to Rwanda, Mahundi said he discovered a lot of discrepancies in the gendarmes training including lack of vehicles for discharging water or gas to disperse crowd during riots.

However the training program for gendarmes could not be implemented as Rwanda shortly after that plunged into genocide.

Mahundi also told the Tribunal that among other things, General Ndindiliyimana wanted was an early retirement so that he could devote his time in business especially buying and selling fish from Mwanza, Northern part of Tanzania.

The Tanzanian IGP was the 29th defense witness for Ndindiliyima. The session has been adjourned, pending availability of new defence witnesses. Sources hinted that the session may resume in May.

© Hirondelle News Agency