Arusha, 30 June 2009 (FH) - An officer of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (RAF), Major Faustin Ntilikina, started on Tuesday his testimony for the defence of Lieutenant Ildephonse Hategekimana, on trial for  genocide crimes before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

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Major Ntilikina, a French citizen since 2007, stated that the Ngoma camp (southern Rwanda), which was commanded by the defendant at the beginning of 1994, had almost no men.

"The Ngoma camp was decommissioned in 1994, practically empty; there were perhaps only some platoons which could at best defend the camp", stated the witness who answered the questions from Ahlonko Dovi, Hategekimana's Togolese lawyer.

The prosecutor alleges that the soldiers of the Ngoma camp devoted themselves to exterminate all Tutsis in  Butare in 1994, instead of coming to the aid of people who were in danger.

Hategekimana, who has claimed his innocence, has been presenting his defence case since last week.

The trial opened on 16 March and the prosecutor rested his case on 4 May.

A native of the former commune of Mugina, in central Rwanda, Hategekimana was indicted for charges related to crimes allegedly committed in the university residence of Butare (southern Rwanda) and its surroundings in 1994.

He is part of the 5 accused that the ICTR prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, sought in vain to transfer to Rwandan courts.


© Hirondelle News Agency