The trial of former Youths Minister, Callixte Nzabonimana, started yesterday at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in the absence of the accused.
Nzabonimana faces charges of Genocide, Conspiracy to Commit Genocide, Direct and Public Incitement to Commit Genocide, Extermination and Murder.
The former minister, represented by his defence counsels, was absent during the trial held late yesterday, on reasons he attributed to having received late the briefs submitted by the tribunal’s prosecution.
Referred to as the ‘Gitarama Butcher’, Nzabonimana was pinned by prosecution yesterday for having played an important role in the massacres of Tutsis in Gitarama prefecture currently in the Southern Province.
Senior Trial Attorney Paul Ng’arua told the tribunal that Nzabonimana enjoyed authority and influence over local militia and policemen who killed several people on his orders, including children.
According to the indictment, on more than one occasion, between April and July 1994 in Gitarama prefecture, the former minster encouraged the population to first kill the Tutsis and then take their belongings.
Nzabonimana was arrested in Tanzania in 2008 and was immediately transferred to the ICTR’s detention facility in Arusha.
The recently arrested Genocide suspects, Gregoire Ndahimana and Ildephonse Nizeyimana, have their trials still pending at the Arusha based tribunal which has been given up to until the end of next year to wind up all trials.
Eleven Genocide fugitives considered instrumental in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis are still on the run, even as the tribunal has a year to close shop.