Genocide: Burundian refugees pinned in Ntaganzwa trial

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

The Specialised Chamber for International Crimes at the High Court on Tuesday proceeded with the hearing of 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.

 

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

 

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

They said that Ntaganzwa, in the company of the Burundian refugees on April 18 April marched onto the compound of the Cyahinda Catholic Church where the tens of thousands of Tutsis had sought refuge, whom they later killed.

During the time of the Genocide in 1994, 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 used to arrest Tutsi and kill them after.

The presiding judge, Antoine Muhima, told the pleaders that court will resume on October 2 to continue with the hearing of 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. 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 USD five million bounty.

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