A former army captain and senior intelligence officer who is one of the top suspects in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide pleaded not guilty yesterday during his first appearance at a UN court in Tanzania.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha has charged Idelphonse Nizeyimana with genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity.
He was arrested in Uganda on October 5 after entering the country by bus from Democratic Republic of Congo, Reuters reports.
“Nizeyimana … pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him. The date for commencement of his trial will be set later,” the ICTR said in a statement.
Ethnic Hutu militia and soldiers butchered 800 000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus in just 100 days in 1994.
The UN court accuses Nizeyimana and others of preparing lists of Tutsi intellectuals and those in authority, before handing the names to troops and militiamen who killed them.
It says Nizeyimana also sent soldiers to the home of the former Queen of Rwanda, Rosalie Gicanda a symbolic figure for all Tutsis who then executed her on his orders.
The US had offered a $5 million reward for his capture, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called his arrest an important first step in the fight against impunity in Africa’s volatile Great Lakes region.
Pic: Victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide