KIGALI - One of Victoire Ingabire’s co-accused, Lt. Colonel Noel Habiyaremye, took the defence floor and admitted all charges he is indicted for.
Habiyaremye is one of two former FDLR militia commanders arrested in Burundi in 2009 while canvassing for support to form a terrorist group.
The two commanders and two other officers are accused of forming an armed group, complicity to acts of terrorism and conspiracy against the government using war and terrorism.
Habiyaremye began his defense by acknowledging his involvement in planning and executing subversive activities against the government of Rwanda while he was still in the FDLR and after he quit the rebel outfit in 2007.
He went on to plead for clemency.
Unlike his counter parts who were allegedly dealing with Ingabire, Habiyaremye was planning to form another armed group on behalf of Paul Rusesabagina’s PDR-Ihumure party.
Court heard that Habiyaremye got into contact with Rusesabagina before leaving the DR Congo jungles to head for Zambia in 2007. Rusesabagina allegedly told him of his intentions to form an armed group to fight the Rwandan Government.
Habiyaremye told court that when they planned to travel to Burundi with Lt. Colonel Tharcisse Nditurende, Rusesabagina instructed him to seek advice from a Burundian General on how to form the armed group.
However, Habiyaremye said that he did not know that his counterpart had similar arrangements with another politician.
“I told him of my plans, but he never told me his,” said the defendant, who had travelled from Zambia to join his counter part at that time for the Burundi mission.
He testified that Rusesabagina sent him money through the Western Union money transfer to facilitate the mission and buy communication equipment like satellite phones to help in the recruitment of the members of his armed group.
Habiyaremye told court that Rusesabagina wanted to use the armed group to oust the Rwandan government in case they completely rejected talks with the opposition politicians.
“He told me that he was disappointed that the FDLR was just sitting idly in the Congo jungles instead of fighting,” he said.
The hearing continues today.