Two former Rwandan officials enter not-guilty pleas before UN war crimes tribunal

Two former Rwandan officials enter not-guilty pleas before UN war crimes tribunal

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Two former officials accused of genocide during Rwanda’s 1994 civil war entered separate not-guilty pleas today during their first appearance before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR).

Two former officials accused of genocide during Rwanda’s 1994 civil war entered separate not-guilty pleas today during their first appearance before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal (ICTR).

Aloys Simba, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Rwandan Armed Forces and a former member of Parliament, and Paul Bisengimana, former Bourgmestre of Gikoro, Kigali-Rural, appeared separately at the Arusha-based Tribunal, where two different court-appointed lawyers assisted them.

Lt. Col. Simba, who was also President of the Mouvement Républicain National pour le Développement et la Démocratie (MRND) in Gikongoro prefecture, is charged with four counts of genocide or in the alternative complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity for murder and extermination for having personally killed several people at Gikongoro town market and Kaduha trading centre.

The indictment also accuses Lt. Col. Simba of having ordered and supervised the killing of Tutsis at Murambi Technical College in Gikongoro, and in Ruhashya, Butare prefecture. In March, he was transferred to Arusha from Senegal, where he had been detained after his arrest in November 2001.

The charges against Mr. Bisengimana include 12 counts of genocide or complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, public incitement to commit genocide and crimes against humanity for murder, extermination, rape, torture and other inhumane acts.

At one point he is alleged to have told a young Hutu who was seeking permission to rape Tutsis, “Do not keep them as wives, but rather rape them to make a difference and kill them afterwards.” He allegedly made similar comments to a group of Interahamwe militia members.

Mr. Bisengimana, who had been detained in Mali before his transfer to Arusha in March, is also alleged to have organized, planned and participated in the killing of several thousand people who had sought refuge at Musha Parish in Gikoro.