Arusha, February 28, 2003 (FH) - The former military commander of Ngoma barracks in Butare (Southern Rwanda), Lt. Ildephonse Hategekimana, made his initial appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Friday.

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Hategekimana, 39, is charged with five counts; genocide, or, alternatively, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to genocide, crimes against humanity for rape, and other inhuman acts. The accused, smartly clad in a dark blue suit, sat calmly as the charges were being read to him. He pleaded not guilty to all charges before Judge Pavel Dolenc of Slovenia in Trial Chamber Three. According to the indictment, the former soldier, while heading the Ngoma army barracks in Butare, and other senior army, political and government leaders, "… conspired among themselves and with others to work out a plan with the intent to exterminate the civilian Tutsi population and eliminate members of the opposition". The indictment also mentions that the plan consisted in training and distributing arms to militia groups, and preparing lists of people to be eliminated. Hategekimana is accused of personally overseeing some of these operations that took place all over Butare town between April and July, 1994. Hategekimana in most cases "instigated, encouraged and facilitated and or, acquiesced to, among others, the Interahamwe and soldiers killing, kidnapping and the destruction of property". Apart from the doortodoor killings, the prosecution says that most of the attacks took place in convents, schools and hospitals. The tribunal also accuses Lt. Hategekimana of giving direct orders to soldiers and militiamen, to carry out the attacks, and that he provided them with material backup such as transport and grenades. Hategekimana is accused with others for deploying soldiers at roadblocks in order to stop and arrest anyone with a "suspicious" identity card. Those cards bore the mention 'Tutsi' . Those arrested were taken to Ngoma camp where many girls and women are said to have been raped. It is well documented in the indictment that, soldiers under his command took part in many kidnappings and subsequent rapes within the barracks, and that he took no measure to put an end to the acts or punish the perpetrators. "The rapes were aggravated by circumstances of gang rape, multiple rape, rape of virgin girls and rape of daughters in front of their mothers and other family members…", the 23page indictment continues, adding that most of these acts of sexual violence were accompanied by the killing of the victim. Lt. Hategekimana was arrested in Brazzaville, Congo, on February 16, 2003 and transferred to the United Nation Detention Facilities in Arusha two days later. He was represented on Friday by duty counsel Jesse Kirita of Tanzania. The date for his trial has not yet been set. KN/CE/FH(HT'0228e)