10.06.08 - ICTR/MILITARY II - BELGIAN COLONEL DISMISSES GENERAL NDINDILIYIMANA'S ROLE IN GENOCIDE

Arusha, 10 June 2008 (FH) - The former head of the Belgian military cooperation in Rwanda, Colonel Andre Vincent, Tuesday described the former Chief of Staff of Gendarmerie, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), as person who sought for national reconciliation through the application of Arusha Accord and dismissed the accused's implication in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

 

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"I knew him personally... I am persuaded that he was favourable to the application of the Arusha Accord between the Rwandan government of the time and the former rebellion of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF, currently in power), stated Colonel Vincent, who is now retired.

"I never had the impression of an unspecified implication of General Ndindiliyimana in the massacres of 1994'', he added. The Belgian officer headed the special mission in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994. He told the UN court that he left the country on 15 April 1994, during the height of the genocide.

Ndindiliyimana is on trial alongside four other officers of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF), including the former Chief of Staff of Army, General Augustin Bizimungu.

The two others in the joint trial are Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, former commander of the reconnaissance battalion, and Captain Innocent Sagahutu, who commanded a company of this elite battalion.

Accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, all four have pleaded not guilty.

Ndindiliyimana is the second to call his witnesses, after Bizimungu. This trial, one of most important in the history of the ICTR, started in September 2004.

ER/PB/MM/SC

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