According to AFP dispatch, Francois Bazaramba, 58, listened calmly as the charges were read out by state prosecutor Raija Toiviainen, but pleaded innocent through his lawyer Ville Hoikkala. Bazaramba, a Hutu, is accused of genocide or alternatively 15 counts of murder. If found guilty, he could face a life sentence.
The prosecutor said the Rwandan, who worked as a Baptist minister, had ordered at least 15 Tutsis, some of them children, to be killed in the municipality of Nyakizu in April 1994.
"Bazaramba has after mid-April 1994 ordered a Tutsi woman named Bellansilla Mugagashugi to be killed. After the order and when Bazaramba was present, the
woman was killed either by being beaten with a club or stabbed with a spear," Toiviainen alleged.
The district court in Porvoo, located some 50 kilometres (31 miles) northeast of the capital Helsinki, is processing Finland's first genocide case.
© Hirondelle News Agency