Arusha, March 18, 2002 (FH) - Former Rwandan mayor Paul Bisengimana and former military officer and member of parliament, Lt. Col.

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Aloys Simba, separately made their initial appearances on Monday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to plead to charges of genocide. Bisengimana was mayor of Gikoro commune in Kigali Rural province at the time of the 1994 genocide. Some one million people died in the Rwandan genocide, according to an official Rwandan survey. Bisengimana appeared before ICTR to answer twelve charges including genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, murder, extermination, torture, rape and other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity. He is also charged with war crimes under the Geneva Conventions. He pleaded not guilty to all the charges. He is accused of conspiring with the former mayors of Bicumbi (also in Kigali Rural) Laurent Semanza and Juvénal Rugambarara to incite, plan and carry out the massacre of Tutsi civilians at Musha church and other localities in Gikoro and Bicumbi. Semanza is currently on trial before the ICTR. Former military officer Lt. Aloys Simba appeared before the same court, charged with four counts of genocide crimes. He denied all the charges. According to the Prosecutor's indictment, Simba had authority over the military, police and Interahamwe militias in the south Rwanda region of Gikongoro during the genocide. He, together with other leaders from the region, is alleged to have planned and executed the genocide in Gikongoro. The indictment against Lt. Simba stated that the accused constantly wore military attire during the events of 1994. He is alleged to have stated at a political rally: "Do you see how many Tutsis there are in Gikongoro now? It would be like a lorry-full of sand colliding with a small car". Lt. Simba is alleged to have incited ethnic Hutu youth to fight ethnic Tutsi to "send them back to their ancestral land in Ethiopia", and to have pledged to provide their transport to Ethiopia. Simba was arrested on November 27th last year in Senegal at the request of the ICTR, while Bisengimana was arrested on December 4th in Mali. The two suspects both lost their extradition hearings. The two accused made their appearance in the ICTR's Trial Chamber Three, before Judge Lloyd George Williams of St. Kitts and Nevis. SW/JA/FH (BI-0318e)