Arusha, April 29, 2010 (FH) -Former army commander and genocide-convict Lt. Col Anatole Nsengiyumva claimed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Thursday that he had defied order to send troops to Bisesero Hills, western Rwanda, where thousands of Tutsi refugees were killed.

1 minApproximate reading time

Nsengiyumva, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1994 genocide, added that the directive had not followed the laid down procedure.

"I never implemented the order. I could not send the troops without the authority of my Army Chief of Staff," Nsengiyumva, then army commander at Gisenyi sector told the chamber during examination-in-chief by Karemera's defence co-counsel, Felix Sow.

The witness, however, acknowledged that the government had wanted troops to be deployed to assist Kibuye gendarmerie and the population against the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) attack.

Nsengiyumva was testifying as 36th defence witness for Joseph Nzirorera, Secretary General of MRND in a joint genocide trial. Others accused in the trial are the party's President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice President Edouard Karemera. The latter has already concluded his defence case.

The trio is charged with crimes committed by members of their party. The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party then in power in 1994. They have denied the charges.

According to the indictment, throughout April to June 1994 local officials in political parties and the territory administration organized attacks against Tutsis who took refuge in the Bisesero Hills, Kibuye Prefecture, resulting in the deaths of ten of thousands of Tutsi men, women and children.

The trial continues Monday.


© Hirondelle News Agency