Arusha, November 21st, 2002 (FH) - Former governor of Kigali, col. Tharcisse Renzaho, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda(ICTR).

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Renzaho,58, was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo in September. He has since been in provisional detention at the United Nations DetentionFacility (UNDF) in Arusha, Tanzania, pending the drafting of his indictment. He is considered to be one of the most senior genocide suspects in the custody of the tribunal. He is charged with three counts of genocide, complicity in genocide and murder as a crime against humanity. The crimes were allegedly committed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. An estimated one million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the genocide according to an official census by the government of Rwanda. "I plead not guilty”, the clean-shaven Renzaho responded in French to each of the counts in the indictment. "In my life, I have never harboured any intention to commit crimes as alleged in the indictment", he said before entering the plea for the first count. According to the indictment Renzaho "intended to destroy the ethnic Tutsi group as such. By virtue of his authority, he - both individually and acting in concert with others - caused many Tutsis to be killed at St. Famille Parish church, St. Paul's Pastoral Centre, and Centre d'Education de Langues Africaines (CELA). The three places are in Kigali. Renzaho is also accused of having "broadcast orders over Radio Rwanda to soldiers, gendarmes, militia, local citizens and demobilised soldiers to construct and to man roadblocks for the purpose of intercepting, identifying and killing Tustis. ""On or about 17 June 1994(…) Renzaho ordered soldiers, militia and communal police to attack Tutsis who had sought refuge at St. Famille", says the indictment. "Consequently, many Tustis were killed there", it adds. At CELA, the prosecution alleges that Renzaho "ordered the removal and murder of 60 men at CELA. He also ordered the murder of many other Tutsis at CELA. "Regarding St. Paul, Renzaho allegedly ordered the removal and murder of sixty Tutsi boys from centre. Renzaho is also charged with distributing guns to militias and supervising killings of Tutsis in different suburbs of Kigali. Moreover, the indictment accuses him of dismissing leaders opposed to the genocide from their positions and replacing them with persons supporting the genocide. GG/CE/FH(RE-1121e)