ICTR war crimes suspect pleads not guilty to genocide charges

ICTR war crimes suspect pleads not guilty to genocide charges

[JURIST] Rwandan genocide suspect Dominique Ntawukuriryayo [TrialWatch profile] pleaded not guilty [ICTR press release] Tuesday to charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, and direct and public incitement to genocide before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website]. Ntawukuriryayo was arrested in France [JURIST report] in October 2007 and indicted [PDF text] for his suspected role in organizing and encouraging the killing of Tutsis. In January, the Supreme Court of France overturned a November 2007 ruling by the Court of Appeal of Paris that approved his transfer [JURIST reports] to the ICTR, but in early May the Final Court of Appeals allowed the transfer [Reuters report].

The charges against Ntawukuriryayo stem principally from his alleged involvement in the Kabuye Hill massacre that occurred over five days in late April 1994, during which as many as 25,000 Tutsi refugees were killed. Then sub-prefect for the Gisagara region, Ntawukuriryayo allegedly promised protection to Tutsis and ordered them to move to Kabuye Hill; instead they were surrounded and shot by gendarmes and communal policemen. Approximately 800,000 people died in the following three months of the Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder].