Court to rule on Ntaganzwa Genocide case next week

Former Bourgmestre of Nyakizu Commune Ladislas Ntaganzwa and his lawyers in court on July 4, 2019 . / file

The High Court Chamber for International Crimes in Nyanza will on Thursday June 4, deliver judgment in the case of Genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa.

Ntaganzwa, 58, was arrested in 2015 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and flown back to Rwanda in 2016 where he has been on trial since.

 

A former Bourgmestre (mayor) of Nyakizu Commune now in Nyaruguru District; Ntaganzwa was one of the nine “Big Fish” indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) but had not yet been arrested by the time the UN court closed shop in 2015.

 

In 2012, ICTR, as part of its completion strategy, decided to refer to Rwandan prosecution the case files of six of the nine major suspects who had remained at large.

 

These included Ladislas Ntaganzwa, Fulgence Kayishema, Charles Sikubwayo, Aloys Ndimbati, Ryandikayo and Pheneas Munyarugarama.

The other three: Felicien Kabuga, Augustin Bizimana and Maj Protais Mpiranya would tried by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.

Kabuga was arrested in France last week (May 16) and a few days later, it was confirmed that the remains of someone exhumed in the Republic of Congo belonged to Bizimana who had did in 2000.

After being extradited to Rwanda in 2016, his trial has been handled by the High Court Chamber for International Crimes in Nyanza, however, on one occasion, the court relocated to Ryabidandi cell, Nyagisozi sector, Nyaruguru district, an area where Ntaganzwa is accused to have committed the crimes.

He is mainly accused of personally commanding a mob which slaughtered over 20,000 Tutsi in his former commune.

According to the prosecution, Ntaganzwa organised and coordinated killings and rape of women at various places and roadblocks in his home area. 

In one of the court hearings, prosecution stated that on April 14, 1994, he convened a high level meeting that brought together Interahamwe militiamen, military and police officers, as well as Burundian refugees who at the time resided in the district, to strategize the “final assault on the Tutsi.”

Here, he is said to have supervised the supply of traditional weapons, hand grenades and guns; and instructing the mob to wipe out all Tutsi who had sought refuge at Cyahinda Catholic Parish and told them to ensure no one escaped, among other violent crimes. 

Ntaganzwa is also accused of personally leading and supervising a massive attack at Gasasa against Tutsi who were fleeing from the Gikongoro and Butare.

He also faces charges of ordering repetitive and collective rape and other despicable sexual attacks against women in his district, while others were held hostage for over two months.

hkuteesa@newtimesrwanda.com

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