Arusha, 21 October 2008 (FH) - An officer of the former Rwandan army called as a witness before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) rejected Tuesday the theory of an agreement, between Captain Innocent Sagahutu and some of his superiors, in order to commit the 1994 Tutsi genocide.

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"In the army, we do not enter into an agreement with our superior, we receive orders from our superiors", stated Major Aloys Twambaze, currently living in exile in Belgium.

The prosecutor alleges, inter alia, that Captain Sagahutu entered into an agreement with other civil and military officials, including two generals and a major who are on trial with him, in order to exterminate the Tutsis.

Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye ordered the reconnaissance battalion, one of the squadrons was placed under the command of Sagahutu.

General Augustin Ndindiliyimana was chief of staff of the gendarmerie while General Augustin Bizimungu was chief of staff of the army.

"From a professional point of view, a squadron commander does not have a direct relationship with the chief of staff; the military hierarchy is very rigid", stated Major Twambaze, a graduate of the former Senior Military College (ESM) of Kigali and who was also a commissioned military administrator, which he obtained in Belgium in 1994.

The witness, who was questioned by one of Captain Sagahutu's lawyers, also denied that the defendant ever exerted the functions of second-in-command of the reconnaissance battalion, as the indictment alleges.

This position was planned but was not in force in 1994, pointed the major.

Twambaze is the first witness for Sagahutu, who started his defence Monday, and will be cross-examined by the prosecutor thereafter.

The captain is the last to call his witnesses in the trial that opened in September 2004.

Accused of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, all four defendants have claimed their innocence.


© Hirondelle News Agency