General Ndindiliyimana and his three other co-accused are charged for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Other defendants are former Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Army, General Augustin Bizimungu, former Commander of Reconnaissance Battalion, Major Francois-Xavier Nzuwonemeye and his Deputy Captain Innocent Sagahutu. All have pleaded not guilty.
The 65-year-old General challenged the prosecution to look for what he called "real killers" and he should not be used as scapegoat, saying he could not attempt to gun down the population to which he was entrusted to protect.
"It is unfair and baseless accusation," the defendant remarked in response to the prosecutors' allegations that he coordinated massacres in the April-July 1994 slaughter, where over 800,000 people were killed, mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
Led in examination-in-chief by his Belgium co-counsel, Vincent Lurquin, General Ndindiliyimana further explained that he did his utmost to protect the population from plunging into violence.
In a bid to dismiss rumours broadcast over the airwaves of the then Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) controlled Radio Muhabura that he was assassinated, the accused said he had to use the government-owned Radio Rwanda to counter the propaganda by assuring the population that he was still alive and fighting to protect them.
According the witness, he took advantage of that opportunity in April 22, 1994 to call upon the population to stop killing each other, warning that the country would shift its attention from instead of fighting aggressors to controlling violence in the country.
The witness continues with his testimony on Thursday. The trial began in September 2004.
© Hirondelle News Agency