Arusha, May 24th, 2000 (FH) - Former Rwandan military commander Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye has been transferred from France to the detention centre of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, the independent news agency Hirondelle reports. An ICTR press release said Nzuwonemeye arrived on Tuesday night.

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Nzuwonemeye was commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion (RECCE) of the Rwandan army during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He faces charges of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions on war crimes. The ICTR says he will make an initial appearance before the court on Thursday, to plead guilty or not-guilty. According to his indictment, Nzuwonemeye conspired with other prominent civilian and military officials in a plan to exterminate Tutsi civilians and members of the moderate Hutu opposition. Crimes were carried out by military personnel and gendarmes (paramilitary police) on the orders of these authorities, including Nzuwonemeye. The prosecution says that the accused exercised authority over members of the former Rwandan army (Forces Armées Rwandaises, or FAR), who also committed rapes and sexual crimes. It was military personnel under his authority, says the indictment, who tracked down, arrested, sexually assaulted and killed former Prime Minister Agathe Uwilingiyimana. Nzuwonemeye was arrested in the southwestern French town of Montauban on February 15th, on a warrant from the ICTR. He is the second Rwandan genocide suspect to be transferred from France after former Rwandan Minister of Higher Education Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, who arrived in Arusha in March. The accused is expected to be tried with other former military officials, including his former second-in-command Innocent Sagahutu, and former gendarmerie boss Augustin Ndindiliyimana. Sagahutu was arrested in Denmark on the same day as Nzuwonemeye, but has yet to be transferred to the ICTR. Ndindiliyimana was transferred from Belgium on April 22nd and has pleaded not-guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. JC/FH (NZ%0524e)