Arusha, June 29, 2010 (FH) - Former Director of Cabinet in the Rwandan Defence Ministry Theoneste Bagosora Tuesday told the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) that he was not aware of military training given to notorious Interahamwe militia of the youth wing of the ruling MRND party in 1994.

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"I am not aware of such programme. I have no any information regarding the training of Interahamwe," said genocide-convict Bagosora when testifying as defence witness for former Secretary General of MRND, Joseph Nzirorera.

He was being cross-examined by prosecution counsel, Don Webster who contended that despite the signing of a cease-fire agreement in March 1993, MRND started training Interahamwe and that investigations conducted by Human rights organizations revealed that the Rwandan Armed Forcers offered such training.

The prosecutor further referred to statements given to Belgian senate by the former Rwandan Gendarmerie Chief of Staff, General Augustin Ndindiliyimana after his arrest that he was an eye witness of training of  Interahamwe in 1993. Gen. Ndindiliyimana is genocide-accused alongside three other former military officers now waiting delivery of their judgement.

However, Bagosora refuted the assertion, saying that if Gen. Ndindiliyimana was aware of the training he would have reported to the Minister of Defence.

"He sent no report to the Minister of Defence that he had seen Interahamwe being militarily trained," he said. Bagosora has been sentenced to life imprisonment for masterminding the 1994 genocide. He is currently waiting the hearing of his appeal against the verdict.

The case continues Wednesday.

Nzirorera is charged jointly with his co-top MRND leaders, President Mathieu Ngirumpatse and his Vice-President Edouard Karemera. They are charged with crimes allegedly committed by members of their party.

The prosecution has indicted them for their superior responsibility as top officials of the party then in power during the genocide. 


© Hirondelle News Agency