Arusha, 6 June 2008 (FH) - The former Rwandan Deputy Governor, Dominique Ntawukuriryayo, was brought to Arusha from France on Thursday evening to face charges of 1994 genocide and crimes against humanity before a UN Court.

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"The accused will make an initial appearance early next week," Dr Tim Gallimore, the spokesman of the Prosecutor told independent Hirondelle Agency Friday.

The ICTR indictment alleges that acts of Ntawukuriryayo led to killings of not less than 25, 000 ethnic Tutsi refugees on Kabuye Hill, Butare Province, Southern Rwanda, between 21 and 25 April 1994.

Ntawukuriryayo twice battled desperately against his transfer to ICTR, lastly being his appeal before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, which also rejected the application mid last month.

On 7 May, the French Final Court of Appeal confirmed a decision of the Court of Appeal of Paris of his transfer to the UN tribunal.

Ntawukuriryayo's defence feared that he will ultimately be transferred to Kigali by the ICTR as part of the tribunal's exit strategy. The UN Security Council has ordered ICTR to complete all first instance trials before end of December 2008.

Ntawukuriryayo, 66, was arrested on 16 October 2007 in Carcassonne, south-western France, following an arrest warrant issued by the ICTR on 21 September 2007. He had been living in France since 1999, under a visitor's visa.

On 16 January, the Final Court of Appeal cancelled, due to legal error, a decision by the Court of Appeal of Paris authorizing Ntawukuriryayo's transfer to the ICTR. The case was returned before other magistrates of the Court of

Appeal, who also endorsed the transfer order.

Ntawukuriryayo is the third accused from France to be transferred to Arusha in the past eight years.

In 2000, France transferred two Rwandans to the ICTR for trials-- Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, former Minister for Higher Education, who has since been sentenced to life in prison; and Francois Xavier Nzuwonemeye, a former officer, who is currently on trial.

The tribunal was also in the final stages to bring to Arusha the former Minister for Planning, Augustin Ngirabztware, who is held in Germany since September 2007.

Ngirabztware is the son-in-law of genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga, the alleged financier of the 1994 killings, which according to UN estimates claimed lives of about 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the April-July slaughter.

The tribunal has tried 35 people while 28 others are currently on trial. Eleven trials are on-going, four of which have closed and are awaiting judgments.

The arrival of Ntawukuriryayo brings the number of people still awaiting trial in Arusha to eight.


© Hirondelle News Agency