Arusha, November 09, 2009 (FH) - The Prosecution Monday alleged that the former Rwandan Minister for Youth during the 1994 genocide, Callixte Nzabonimana, abused his position and influence by inciting the population in his native prefecture of Gitarama to pursue and kill ethnic Tutsis.

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Making his opening remarks, Senior Trial Attorney, Paul Ng'arua, said that the accused - whom he described as ‘'the butcher of Gitarama'' -  decided knowingly to participate in the planned genocide with other authorities using the state machinery.

‘'He was the person of great influence in Gitarama prefecture and Rwanda in general. People followed his orders,'' he said adding that instead of acting to protect the population he decided to deliberately participate in the massacres.

Nzabonimana is facing five charges-- genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder-- in the amended indictment signed by ICTR Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow on October 4, 2008. According to the prosecution, many Tutsis were killed following the accused orders.

The Kenyan-born Ng'arua said it was as if the accused had ‘' powers of life and death on his hands''. He said his team would call witnesses to prove that the defendant actively participated in the genocide.

He said some victims lost their entire families as the result of Nzibonimana's actions as if to be born a Tutsi was a crime.

‘'I hope this world will never produce another Nzabonimana'' Ng'arua concluded.

Lead defence counsel, Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse (France), said some of the allegations against his client were not real such as the time when the prosecution alleged the accused was inciting the massacres, he claimed his client sought refugee at the French Embassy in Rwanda like other ministers.

The accused was only represented by his two defence counsels at the opening apparently to protest over the prosecutor's late disclosure of some documents and delayed translations.  

 Nzabonimana was arrested in Kigoma, Western Tanzania, on February 18, 2008 and was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha immediately.


© Hirondelle News Agency