Trial of former Rwanda education minister opens at UN war crimes tribunal

Trial of former Rwanda education minister opens at UN war crimes tribunal

The Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has opened the trial of a former Rwandan education minister charged with committing genocide and other crimes in the country in 1994.

Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Culture in the Interim Government in power in Rwanda from 8 April to 7 July 1994, is charged with genocide, or in the alternative complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide. He is also charged with four counts of crimes against humanity including rape, murder and extermination.

Speaking on behalf of the tribunal's Prosecutor, Senior Trial Attorney Ken Fleming Q.C. of Australia said at the opening session on Tuesday that evidence would show that Mr. Kamuhanda had committed these crimes in his home area of Gikomero Commune of Kigali Rural Prefecture.

Of the 11 former ministers who are now in the tribunal's custody, Andre Ntagerura, the former Transport Minister, and Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, are currently on trial. The opening of the Kamuhanda case means that there are now five trials in progress before the ICTR involving a total of nine accused.

Mr. Kamuhanda is represented before the Trial Chamber by Aisha Conde of Guinea, assisted by Grace Amakye of the United Kingdom. He was arrested in Bourges, France on 26 November 1999 and transferred to ICTR's detention facility in Arusha on 7 March 2000.

The country's former Prime Minister, Jean Kambanda, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998, a sentence that was upheld by the Appeals Chamber in October 2000.

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