Arusha, 18 November 2008 (FH) - A subaltern of the former Rwandan army stated Tuesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that there were, in 1994, three types of road blocks in his country.

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Called by the defence of Captain Innocent Sagahutu, on trial alongside three other officers of the former Rwandan armed forces, the witness testified under the codename "CINS" to protect his identity.

In the middle of a long statement of multiple confrontations in Kigali with the former rebels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), the former company commander spoke about "mobile road blocks of the RPF, road blocks of Interahamwe militiamen and road blocks of civil self-defence".

The first two categories of road blocks were harmful to public order and to the integrity of the territory, the witness stated, explaining that he had sometimes received orders of dismantling them in 1994.

He indicated that the people holding these kinds of road blocks could open fire on the passing Rwandan army, whereas "the self-defence road blocks encouraged" the forces of their government.

The witness also denied that Rwandan soldiers took part on the side of civilians maintaining road blocks.

"The soldiers were busy at the front", said CINS, who was questioned by Seydou Doumbia, one of Captain Sagahutu's lawyers.

The witness was to be thereafter confronted with the questions from the prosecutor, Alphonse Van.

The captain is on trial alongside the former commander of the reconnaissance battalion, Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye, the former chief of staff of the army, General Augustin Bizimungu, and the former boss of the gendarmerie, Major Augustin Ndindiliyimana.

Prosecuted for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the four officers have pleaded not guilty.

Their trial began in September 2004 and Sagahutu is the last to call his witnesses.


© Hirondelle News Agency