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Rwanda: former finance minister transferred to UN criminal tribunal for trial

Rwanda: former finance minister transferred to UN criminal tribunal for trial

A former Minister of Finance in the 1994 Interim Government of Rwanda has been transferred from Belgium to the United Nations detention facility in Arusha, Tanzania, after being arrested at the request of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

In a statement issued today, the Tribunal said 51-year-old Emmanuel Ndindabahizi was arrested in Verviers, Belgium, on 12 July. He was indicted on counts of genocide, or in the alternative complicity in genocide, as well as direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity for extermination and murder.

Mr. Ndindabahizi is alleged to have led a campaign against Tutsis in Kibuye prefecture, the region where he grew up and rose through the local and regional political administration to become a government minister. It is alleged that under his orders bands of police and civil militia attacked and pillaged homes, physically assaulted, raped and killed Tutsis in a systematic campaign of violence.

The accused will make his initial appearance shortly before a Trial Chamber or a Judge of the Tribunal. Duty counsel has been appointed to assist him.

In other news, the UN tribunal reported that Emmanuel Rukundo, former Military Chaplain in Ruhengeri prefecture, today pleaded not guilty to three counts of genocide and crimes against humanity for murder and extermination.

Mr. Rukundo, 42, is alleged to have ordered, instigated, encouraged, aided and abetted the preparation and execution of Tutsis in Gitarama prefecture in 1994. In particular, the accused, who also served as Military Chaplain in Kigali in 1994 after being transferred from Ruhengeri, is said to have organized and participated in hunts for Tutsi priests and nuns in various seminaries and convents in the prefecture. He is alleged to have identified them to soldiers and Interahamwe militiamen so that they would be killed.

The accused is also alleged to have been involved in mobilizing Hutus against Tutsis and to have said, "Tutsi are people to destroy. We must fight against them by all means."

Arrested in Geneva on 12 July, Mr. Rukundo was transferred to the UN detention facility in Arusha on 20 September.