[JURIST] Former Hutu intelligence chief Idelphonse Nizeyimana [BBC profile; case materials] on Wednesday pleaded not guilty [press release] in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] to charges related to his role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder]. The ICTR indicted [text, PDF] Nizeyimana in 2000 for genocide and crimes against humanity, but the military leader had evaded authorities until his arrest [JURIST report] last week. Prosecutors claim that Nizeyimana ordered troops to kill Tutsi families and to kidnap and kill a ceremonial Tutsi queen, charging him with four counts of genocide, or in the alternative complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. A trial date has not yet been set.
Nizeyimana was one of four top accused sought by the ICTR in order to complete its mission. In July, the UN Security Council [official website] extended the terms [JURIST report] for ICTR judges until December 31, 2010, or until they complete their cases. In March, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon pledged his ongoing support [JURIST report] for the ICTR and stressed that the international community must continue to combat genocide. The ICTR was established to try genocide suspects for crimes occurring during the 1994 Rwandan conflict between Hutus and Tutsis in which approximately 800,000 people, primarily Tutsis, died.