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Former Rwandan MP pleads not guilty, UN trial

Former Rwandan minister pleads not guilty at UN trial on genocide charges

Rwanda's former Acting Minister of the Interior today pleaded not guilty at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal to three counts related to the massacres of Tutsis in a southern prefecture of the country during its 1994 genocide.

Callixte Kalimanzira made his initial appearance before Judge Asoka de Silva and pleaded not guilty to genocide, alternative complicity in genocide, and direct and public incitement to commit genocide, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) said.

The accused is alleged to have coordinated efforts to spark the killings of Tutsis in Butare prefecture, where they had not been subject to widespread attacks between the beginning of the massacres and 19 April 1994.

He is specifically charged with giving inflammatory speeches that called for the elimination of all Tutsis, including women, children and the elderly.

He is also charged with distributing weapons to be used in the massacres of Tutsis, with supervising the killings of thousands of them at their places of refuge and with personally beating some of them to death.

Assisted by a duty counsel, he denied all charges.

Kalimanzira was arrested on 8 November 2005 after he surrendered to Tanzanian authorities in Arusha, where the ICTR is located, bringing to 72 the number of accused the Tribunal has arrested. The date for his trial will be set later.

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