A Rwandan defence investigator accused of trying to fabricate evidence for the appeal in the genocide trial of the country’s former higher education minister has made his first appearance in his own case before the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the mass killings that engulfed the small African nation in 1994.
During an initial appearance yesterday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), in Arusha, Tanzania, Léonidas Nshogoza pleaded not guilty to two charges of contempt of the Tribunal and two counts of attempting to commit acts punishable as contempt.
Mr. Nshogoza voluntarily surrendered to the ICTR on Friday after an international warrant was issued for his arrest late last month.
The indictment accuses him of intending to fabricate evidence and procure false statements for use in the appeal against the conviction and sentencing of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda. It also accuses him of interfering in the administration of justice.
Mr. Kamuhanda is serving concurrent life sentences after being convicted of genocide and extermination by the ICTR, which found that he had supervised the killings in his native Gikomero commune in the Kigali-Rural prefecture. He distributed firearms, grenades and machetes to the Hutu Interahamwe militia and led attacks at the parish church and adjoining school in Gikomero, where several thousand Tutsi civilians were killed.
Last December the Tribunal convicted a former witness – identified only by the code name GAA – in the Kamuhanda trial to nine months’ jail for giving false testimony.
In less than three months starting in early April 1994, some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were murdered across Rwanda, often by machete or club.