Arusha, May 23, 2001 (FH) - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) defence investigator Siméon Nshamihigo suspected of genocide and currently in the custody of Tanzanian authorities on Wednesday pleaded not-guilty to immigration charges before an Arusha court. Nshamihigo denied charges of being in unlawful possession of two forged Congolese passports, when he appeared Wednesday before Arusha Senior Resident Magistrate Kakusulo Sambo.

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Nshamihigo was arrested by Tanzanian authorities on Saturday, at the request of the ICTR Prosecutor. He is being detained by Tanzania on immigration charges, but is also suspected of involvement in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He had been working as an ICTR defence investigator under an assumed name, on the case of Samuel Imanishimwe, former military commander of Cyangugu in southwest Rwanda. According to the ICTR, Nshamihigo was deputy-prosecutor of Cyangugu at the time of the 1994 genocide. On Monday, ICTR Judge Mehmet Güney of Turkey issued a request to the Tanzania Government to hand over the investigator to the Tribunal. He granted a 30-day provisional detention order on the suspect, whom the ICTR prosecutor is investigating for genocide. On the immigration charges, Nshamihigo is represented by Tanzanian lawyers Loomu Ojare and Professor Jwan Mwaikusa. The lawyers told Hirondelle in separate interviews that the Resident Magistrate's Court would deliver a ruling on May 25th on a request for bail. NI/SW/JC/FH (NG0523e)