Former jurist pleads not guilty to genocide charges at UN tribunal for Rwanda

29 June 2001

A former Deputy Prosecutor from Rwanda today pleaded not guilty to genocide charges in his initial appearance before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania.

Siméon Nshamihigo, 41, pleaded not guilty to three counts charging him with genocide (alternatively complicity in genocide), extermination (alternatively murder as a crime against humanity), and violations of the Geneva Conventions for his part in the massacres in Cyangugu Prefecture in 1994.

The accused, who was also Secretary for the Coalition pour la défence de la République in Cyangugu, is alleged to have been responsible for planning, instigating, ordering, committing or otherwise aiding and abetting the killings of Tutsi in his prefecture.

Mr. Nshamihigo is said to have participated in the campaign against the Tutsi by compiling lists of influential Tutsi and members of political opposition; identifying persons to be killed on the basis of such lists; supervising roadblocks and distributing weapons to militia to facilitate the killings.

On or about 7 April 1994, Mr. Nshamihigo is alleged to have ordered a group of men at a roadblock in Kamembe to "search out the Tutsi and the RPF accomplices and give them over to Interahamwe." Shortly thereafter Interahamwe tracked down and killed a number of Tutsi men, women and children. The accused is also alleged to have organized and participated in the killing of several Tutsi refugees who had been detained in Karampaka Stadium in the prefecture.

Mr. Nsahamihigo was arrested in Arusha on 19 May and transferred to the Tribunal's Detention Facility six days later.