Genocide trial of former Rwandan government official begins at UN tribunal

17 June 2002

The trial of a former Rwandan government official charged with genocide began today at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

The trial of a former Rwandan government official charged with genocide began today at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

Eliezer Niyitegeka, a former Minister of Information, was previously charged with six counts of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity. The prosecutor has added four new counts of rape, direct and public incitement to genocide, complicity to genocide and violations of the Geneva Conventions.

According to the prosecutor, Mr. Niyitegeka, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, is alleged to have committed crimes in Bisesero area, where thousands of predominantly Tutsi men, women and children sought refuge from attacks that took place throughout the prefecture of Kibuye from 9 April to 30 June 1994.

During the proceedings today, the first witness, Anthony Lucassen, a prosecution investigator working in Kigali, presented several pictures of Bisesero. The prosecutor told the court that Mr. Niyitegeka personally attacked and killed persons seeking refuge there, and had ordered attacks in that area knowing that rape and sexual violence against Tutsi women were systematically used in the offensives.

 

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