10.01.08 - RWANDA/JUSTICE - EX-SENATOR TO BE TRIED BY CONVENTIONAL COURT

Arusha, 10 January 2008 (FH) - Anastase Nzirasanaho, a former Rwandan Senator accused for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide, will be tried by a conventional court and not by the traditional Gacaca , it has been reliably learned.
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The Senator appeared last Sunday before the gacaca court of the Rugenge sector, in Kigali, which classified him in the "first category", that of the planners of the genocide, an observer of the Rwandan League for the Promotion and the Defence of Human Rights (LIPRODHOR) told Hirondelle News Agency.

The popular gacaca courts, which are charged with trying the majority of the alleged authors of the genocide, but does do not have the jurisdiction to try defendants of the category accused persons.

Mr Nzirasanaho is, in particular accused of the murder in April 1994, of one of the leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Theoneste Gafaranga.

Gafaranga, one of the ring leaders of the opposition to President Juvenal Habyarimana, had been nominated by his party to be part of the broad-based transitional government, to which currently in power the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), was also part of it.

Nzirasanaho, originally from the former prefecture of Ruhengeri, in the north of Rwanda, has pleaded not guilty.

Before his entry to the Senate, the defendant was the Director of coffee company in Rwanda.

Several high ranking Rwandan civilian and military officials have been tried before the gacaca courts.

Some of them resigned from their functions, others went into exile, while others were tried and acquitted or convicted.

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