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Former Prosecutor Goes On Trial At UN Tribunal

Former Prosecutor Goes On Trial At UN Tribunal For Role In Rwandan Genocide

New York, Sep 25 2006 3:00PM

The United Nations war crimes tribunal for Rwanda today began the trial of a former prosecutor on charges of genocide, extermination and murder for allegedly recruiting, arming and ordering militia to massacre Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 killing spree in the small Central African country.

Simeon Nchamihigo, former deputy prosecutor of Cyangugu Prefecture, pleaded not guilty to all charges in the four-count indictment during his initial appearance in 2001 before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based in Arusha in neighbouring Tanzania.

More than 800,000 people were massacred, mostly by machete, for being ethnic Tutsis or Hutu moderates during a period of less than 100 days starting in April 1994.

The prosecution alleges that the defendant wore a military uniform and carried a weapon as he participated in a campaign with leaders of the military and the Interahamwe militia in Cyangugu to exterminate Tutsis and moderates from the Hutu opposition whom he considered traitors and accomplices of the rebel Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front.

It added that on numerous occasions in 1994, the defendant distributed weapons and ordered the killing of Tutsi civilians including a priest, who was killed in his presence at a roadblock in May of that year. He is also alleged to have rewarded Interahamwe members with food and beer for participating in the massacres.

Ends

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