Nyarugunga Primary Court Monday remanded Ladislas Ntaganzwa, a Genocide suspect who was recently extradited from the Democratic Republic of Congo, for 30 days.
According to court, Ntaganzwa, a former Bourgmestre (mayor) of Nyakizu Commune, now in Nyaruguru District, will remain in custody to give prosecutors more time to complete investigations. He refused to take a plea.
He is mainly accused of personally commanding a mob that included Burundian refugees which killed over 20,000 Tutsi in his former commune.
According to the prosecution, Ntaganzwa organised and coordinated killings and rapes of women at various places and roadblocks in his home area.
Specifically, the prosecutor stated that on April 14, 1994, he convened a high level propaganda meeting that brought together Interahamwe militiamen, military and police officers, as well as Burundian refugees who at the time resided in the district, to strategise the “final assault on the Tutsi.”
After supervising the supply of traditional weapons, hand grenades and guns, Ntaganzwa instructed the mob to wipe out all Tutsi who had sought refuge at Cyahinda Catholic Parish and told them to ensure no one escaped, prosecution says.
On the 20th of the same month, Ntaganzwa personally led and supervised a massive attack at Gasasa against Tutsi fleeing killings from the then Gikongoro and Butare provinces, according to the charge sheet.
Ntaganzwa 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.
His lawyer, Laurent Bugabo, had earlier applied to court to free the suspect on the basis that the charges against him were not backed by evidence, and also argued that Nyarugunga court was not competent to handle Genocide-related crimes.
The court, however, remanded him saying that for a man who has remained at large for 22 years, there was a high risk of escape once released on bail.
Ntaganzwa was one among nine Genocide masterminds who were indicted by the now-defunct International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and had a five-million dollar bounty on his head.
His case was referred to the Rwandan judicial system by the UN court as part of its completion strategy.
The suspect, who immediately appealed against the court decision, was arrested last December in northern DR Congo several years after Interpol had put out a red notice on him.