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Former Rwandan governor pleads not guilty to genocide: UN tribunal

Former Rwandan governor pleads not guilty to genocide: UN tribunal

A former Rwandan governor today made his initial appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), pleading not guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

François Karera, the former prefect of Kigali-rural prefecture, was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya on 20 October 2001 and transferred to the ICTR Detention Facility in Arusha the same day.

According to the indictment, Mr. Karera is said to have ordered soldiers, communal police officers and Interahamwe militia from Nyamirambo commune to destroy the houses of Tutsis and to kill their occupants. The accused himself distributed weapons for the purpose.

In the village of Ntarama Mr. Karera is alleged to have incited soldiers to attack Tutsi civilians who had taken refuge in the church, saying, "You people have been fighting the Tutsi for one week but now the job will be finished. I don't want to see one Tutsi alive in Ntarama sector by tonight."

Mr. Karera, together with Col. Théoneste Bagasora, who is also in the custody of the Tribunal, and other army officers carried out patrols in the prefecture to search for Tutsi civilians and kill them, the indictment said.