Arusha, 18 February 2009 (FH) - A former officer of the Rwandan gendarmerie, Lieutenant Colonel Jean Marie Vianney Nzapfakumunsi, now a naturalised French citizen, affirmed Wednesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that the force for which was employed was no longer able to maintain law and order after 6 April 1994.

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"The tactical situation could not permit arrest of Interahamwe (militiamen)",  main notorious wing which led the attacks, stated the officer who was in charge of operations at the Kacyiru Gendermarie Camp, Kigali, in 1994.

"There was already one front but we could not open a second front against the Interahamwe", asserted Nzapfakumunsi, who came to defend his former boss, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana, Chief of Staff of Gendarmerie during the genocide.

According to him, at the resumption of hostilities, the Kigali gendarmes were under the operational command of the army.

Lieutenant Colonel Nzapfakumunsi stressed that it was impossible to carry out investigations or to punish deserters of the army or the gendarmerie who joined the militiamen.

"There was no longer any military police available; there was no more jail or prison, the personnel of the prosecution had fled, all was blocked", claimed the witness.

Nzapfakumunsi then refuted a testimony heard by the Chamber in January 2006 and according to which Interahamwe would have been hosted and armed at the camp of the gendarmerie in Kacyiru in 1994.

"It is a lie. I did not see Interahamwe in our camp", testified the officer, who was questioned by Vincent Lurquin, one of Ndindiliyimana's lawyers.

He finally stressed that the Interahamwe militiamen were not fawned of General Ndindiliyimana because of the operations which the gendarmerie had carried out against them in 1992-1993.

"He himself was threatened", said the witness, complementing Ndindiliyimana as "a General concerned with the respect of law and order".

During the cross- examination by trial attorney Moussa Sefon, the witness, however, admitted having learned later, after his departure from Rwanda, those two officers of the gendarmerie of the Kacyiru Camp had given "used weapons" to the Interahamwe.

Ndindiliyimana is on trial alongside three other officers of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF), including the former chief of staff of the army, General Augustin Bizimungu.

Indicted for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, they have all claimed their innocence.

The trial opened in September 2004.


© Hirondelle News Agency