Arusha, May 31, 2011 (FH) - Former Rwandan soldier claimed before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda Tuesday that Captain Idelphonse Nizeyimana became in charge of intelligence services and liaison officer after reorganization of general staff at the Noncommissioned Officers School (ESO) on April 7, 1994.

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"He was responsible for intelligence on the field. He was monitoring what was happening at the war front regarding FAR (Rwandan Armed Forces) soldiers and the enemy. He was in charge of liaising information received and presented them to the camp commander," said the ex-army officer when testifying as defence witness for Nizeyimana.

According to the prosecution, Nizeyimana charged with genocide, extermination, murder and rape, was the second in command in charge of intelligence and military operations at ESO situated in Butare prefecture (Western Rwanda), who authorized, ordered or instigated soldiers from the military academy to commit crimes against Tutsis during genocide.

However, led by the defendant's co-counsel Cainnech Lussiaa-Berdou, the witness code-named OUV03 to protect his identity alleged that Nizeyimana had no soldiers under his command except messengers who served in his office.

 "Even people who worked for the transmission centre were not under his command. Members of the transmission centre were under the camp commander," he claimed.

Doubting the testimony of the witness, the judges sought to know what he meant and whether Nizeyimana worked single handily in his office. The witness was quick to respond, "Nizeyimana was neither a commander of a unit nor sub-unit commander. He served as a liaison officer between the UNAMIR, NGO (Non-Government Organizations) and ESO."

Restructuring of general staff at ESO was made after its commander in 1994, General Marcel Gatsinzi, currently a cabinet minister in the Rwandan government, was appointed interim Army Chief of Staff. He was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Tharcisse Muvunyi, a genocide-convict, who was in charge of intelligence and training at the time at the school.

The witness explained further that Nizeyimana was replaced on the post on April 18, 1994 after being assigned by the Chief of Staff of the army to go and set up a training centre at Mata in Gikongoro prefecture where new recruits would be trained. He said Nizeyimana left ESO for Mata on April 26, 1994 and never came back.

The trial continues Wednesday. The defendant was arrested in Uganda on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania the following day.


© Hirondelle News Agency