Arusha, July 9, 2010 (FH) -Initial appearance of Rwandan Pentecostal Pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi and continuation of trial of Youth Minister Callixte Nzabonimana are the only two events which featured before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) this week.

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Uwinkindi, aged 59, denied charges of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity, in his initial appearance before the Tribunal on Friday.

He was brought before Judge Dennis Byron, who informed him of charges he allegedly committed in 1994.   

Pastor Uwinkindi hails from Kibuye prefecture, Western Rwanda. He was the minister of a Pentecostal church in Bugesera prefecture in 1994.

The accused allegedly led several attacks against Tutsis who had sought refuge in his own parish of Kayenzi in Busegera prefecture, Eastern Rwanda.

Pastor Uwinkindi allegedly led a group of killers to look for and exterminate Tutsi civilians from Kanzenze commune. The group lived at Kayenzi church.

"Pastor Uwinkindi went to the roadblock mounted before the Kayenzi church, then addressed" his group, "ordering them to prevent any Tutsi from passing through the roadblock," the prosecution claims in the indictment.

Several Tutsis were then caught at the roadblock and taken to the nearby church where they were killed. Uwinkindi was arrested on June 30, in Uganda as he was coming into the country from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Meanwhile, the trial of former Rwandan Youth Minister Callixte Nzabonimana continued before the Tribunal this week with the defence calling three witnesses. Almost all sessions were conducted under closed doors to protect identity of witnesses.

The trial continues next week when the defence is expecting to field two more witnesses. So far, 22 witnesses have testified for Nzabonimana, who is charged with conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, extermination and murder, as crimes against humanity.


© Hirondelle News Agency