Arusha, 18 November, 2008 (FH) - The last defendant in a six-man trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Elie Ndayambaje, Tuesday strongly denied that he assisted his co-accused, former Rwandan Colonel in charge of civil defence in Butare prefecture, South Rwanda, Alphonse Nteziryayo, to train the militia and distribute weapons used during the 1994 genocide.

0 min 52Approximate reading time

"I wonder how a civilian could assist an army Colonel in training militia and distributions of weapons," responded seemingly irritated Ndayambaje adding "I strongly deny these accusations."

The response was triggered by questions put forward by the accused's lead Canadian defence counsel, Pierre Boule, during the last day of Examination-in-Chief of Ndayambaje who was testifying on his defence.

He claimed before the three-judge bench in the course of his testimony that he never had any close contact or worked hand in glove with his five co-accused during the April-July 1994 Rwandan massacres as the indictment alleged.

Other defendants accused jointly with Ndayambaje are: Former Minister for Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko and her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, former Governor Sylvain Nsabimana and Ex-Mayor of Ngoma Commune, Joseph Kanyabashi.

All pleaded not guilty to genocide and crimes against humanity.

Guy Popular of Canada, Co-counsel for the accused Nyiramasuhuko started cross examination shortly after the defence of Ndayambaje concluded its Examination-in-Chief.

The trial which commenced in June 2001 continues Wednesday.


© Hirondelle News Agency