Arusha, March 07, 2002 (FH) - The arraignment of former Rwandan counsellor and genocide suspect Vincent Rutaganira at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) was on Thursday adjourned for about ten days. The adjournment, requested by the prosecution in agreement with Rutaganira's defence, is to give him "time to ensure that he is well aware of matters in his indictment".

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Rutaganira was a councillor in Mubuga Sector in Gishyita commune in the West Rwanda province of Kibuye at the time of the 1994 genociede in Rwanda. He ischarged with several counts of genocide and crimes against humanity. Rutaganira, 56, told the court that he neither understood English nor French, the official languages of the Tribunal in which indictments are written. "I need more time to go into details of the charges in Kinyarwanda". Kinyarwanda is main language spoken in Rwanda. Among other charges, Rutaganira is accused of participating in killings of thousands of Tutsi refugees at Mubuga church at the height of the 1994 genocide. Rutaganira is among the first persons to have been indicted by the ICTR. He was indicted in 1995 alongside seven other persons from Kibuye province. Two of them have since been convicted on genocide charges, one aqcuitted and three are still at large. Rutaganira was arrested last week in the West Tanzania town of Kigoma. Rutaganira however told the court on Thursday that he had surrendered himself to the ICTR. "I left Congo personally to come here to the Tribunal, he said. Police sources told Hirondelle that Rutaganira had been arrested by Tanzanian police in Kigoma for illegal entry into Tanzania. According to the sources, Rutaganira was later handed over to the ICTR. "I'm working for peace", Rutaganira told the court. "All my life I have worked for peace and justice", he added. The hearing was before judge Andresia Vaz of Senegal. Rutaganira was represented in court by duty counsel Francis Musei of Tanzania. The prosecution isrepresented by Charles Phillips of Nigeria and the UK, Wallace Kapaya of Tanzania and Boi Tia Stevens of the US. GG/JA/FH(RT-0307e)