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Rwandan Minister Pleads Not Guilty To Genocide

Former Rwandan minister pleads not guilty at UN war crimes tribunal

10 October 2008 – A former top Rwandan official has pleaded not guilty to ten counts of genocide and other crimes at the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the 1994 mass killings in the small Great Lakes nation.

Augustin Ngirabatware, a former Minister of Planning, is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for murder, extermination and rape. Arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, in September 2007, he was transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, earlier this week.

An estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed – often by machete or club – during a 100-day period starting in early April 1994.

According to the Tribunal’s indictment, Mr. Ngirabatware, 51, is alleged to have conspired with others to create a plan to exterminate the civilian Tutsi population to remain in power.

The Prosecution said that parts of the defendant’s plan included elements such as recourse to hatred and ethnic violence; training and supplying weapons to militiamen; and preparing lists of people to be eliminated.

They added that Mr. Ngirabatware and others organized, ordered and took part in massacres of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Initially, the former Rwandan minister was charged jointly with Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

ENDS

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