Arusha, August 13, 2002 (FH) - The genocide trial of former Rwandaninformation minister, Eliézer Niyitegeka, resumes at International CriminalTribunal for Rwanda(ICTR) on Tuesday after over a month's adjournment due toboth lack of witnesses and judicial recess. Niyitegeka, 50, is charged with 10 counts of genocide, conspiracy to commitgenocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commitgenocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva conventionsand additional protocol II.

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He allegedly led killings and torture of ethnicTutsis in his home region of Kibuye in West Rwanda and elsewhere in thecountry during the 1994 genocide. An estimated One million Tutsis andmoderate Hutus were killed in the genocide according to an official censusby the government of Rwanda. Among other accusations, Niyitegeka is charged with having "exercisedcommand responsibility over civilian militia that committed acts of sexualviolence and sexual torture by ordering them to assist him when he committedsuch acts upon Tutsi women, and by encouraging such acts by his own example,and in failing to forbid or discourage such acts, or to sanction or topunish perpetrators. " He is personally accused of forcing a Tutsi girl intohis car before raping her. According to the indictment, when the victim gotout, the accused shot her. The ICTR considers rape as a crime of genocide. Niyitegeka was appointed minister on April 8th, 1994, two days after theassassination of president Juvenal Habyarimana. The 'government ofsalvation' set up then is accused of spreading and implementing thegenocide. Ten of its members are awaiting trial at the ICTR. The then primeminister, Jean Kambanda is serving a life sentence in Mali after pleadingguilty to genocide. As Minister of Information, the accused allegedly had command responsibilityover ORINFOR (Rwandan state media body), including the programmes of RadioRwanda and 'hate-radio' Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM). Both these radio stations were used to incite Hutus to kill Tutsis. "Incitement to massacre the civilian population over the radio air-waves ofRTLM and Radio Rwanda can be directly imputed to Eliézer Niyitigeka for hisfailure to control the programming of the radio broadcasts, or to curtailthe anti-Tutsi gendarmes," says the indictment. Niyitegeka was arrested on February 9th, 1999, in the Kenyan capitalNairobi, and transferred three days later to the UN prison in Arusha,Tanzania. He pleaded not guilty to his first indictment on April 15th, 1999. He also pleaded not guilty to an amended indictment on July 4th, 2000. Niyitigeka is defended by Irish lawyer Sylvia Hannah Geraghty. Niyitegeka's trial was adjourned on June 26, ten days after its start, dueto difficulties in transferring witnesses from Rwanda to the ICTR in Arusha,Tanzania. Only two witnesses testified then. ICTR spokesperson, KingsleyMoghalu, told Hirondelle on Monday that five witnesses were now in Arushaready to testify. The trial is before Trial Chamber One of the ICTR, comprising JudgesNavanethem Pillay of South Africa (presiding), Erik Mose of Norway andAndresia Vaz of Senegal. GG/DO/FH (NI-0813e )