Global perspective Human stories

UN genocide tribunal begins trial of ex-Rwandan minister

UN genocide tribunal begins trial of ex-Rwandan minister

The trial of a former Rwandan minister, who allegedly coordinated the killing of Tutsis, began today before the United Nations war crimes tribunal set up to deal with the 1994 genocide in the small African country.

Callixte Kalimanzira, former Acting Minister of Interior from April-May 1994, is charged with genocide, complicity in genocide and with direct and public incitement to commitment genocide, and pleaded not guilty to all three counts in November 1995.

The defendant, who surrendered to authorities on 8 November 1995, allegedly organized the killing of Tutsis in Butare prefecture between 6 and 19 April 1994.

Christine Graham, who heads the Prosecution, told the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, that she will present evidence showing that Mr. Kalimanzira abused power, authority and influence during the country’s genocide.

She noted that the Prosecution will call victims, co-perpetrators and bystanders as witnesses.

“As you will hear, some of these witnesses are victims of genocide, whilst others were used by the accused Kalimanzira as tools to implement his genocidal plan,” Ms. Graham said.

In April, the Court increased the jail term to life in prison of Athanase Seromba, a Roman Catholic priest in Rwanda who directed the demolition of a church where about 1,500 Tutsis were trying to take shelter, killing those trapped inside.