Genocide: Burundians pinned in Ntaganzwa trial


Ntaganzwa used Burundian refugees to hunt down and kill fleeing Tutsi in 1994, the Special Chamber of the International Crimes at the High Court heard during his trial yesterday. (File)

The Specialised Chamber for International Crimes at the High Court Tuesday proceeded with the trial of Genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa where prosecution laid out accounts from witnesses.

Prosecution, represented by Faustin Nkusi, said they have on record witness accounts saying they saw Ntaganzwa commanding a mob that included Burundian refugees, which killed over 20,000 Tutsi at Cyahinda Parish in the former Nyakizu commune, now in Nyaruguru District, in 1994

Ntaganzwa was extradited to Rwanda in March 2016 following his arrest in DR Congo, on an indictment issued by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Among other charges, he is accused of participating in genocide, public incitement to commit genocide, extermination, murder and rape as crime against humanity.

Nkusi said that witnesses say that Ntaganzwa was often times during the Genocide seen in the company of policemen and militiamen brandishing guns.

They said Ntaganzwa, in the company of the Burundian refugees on April 18, 1994, marched onto the compound of the Cyahinda Catholic Church where the tens of thousands of Tutsi had sought refuge.

They killed them.

During the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, thousands of Burundian nationals were in the country, mainly in southern Rwanda, having fled skirmishes in their own country.

Other witnesses told prosecution that Ntaganzwa organised and coordinated killings and rape against women at various places and roadblocks in his home area mainly at Musumba, Ryabidandi and Coko.

The presiding judge, Antoine Muhima, adjourned the court to October 2 to continue with submissions from the prosecution before the suspect can start presenting his defence.

Ntaganzwa, a former Bourgmestre (mayor) of Nyakizu Commune, now in Nyaruguru District, was one of nine Genocide masterminds who were indicted by the ICTR but had not yet been arrested by the time the UN court closed shop.

His file was subsequently transferred to Rwandan prosecution.

He was one of the Genocide suspects under the Reward for Justice Programme of the US Government with a $5 million bounty each.