Arusha, October 7, 2010 (FH) - The commencement of the genocide case against former military officer in the Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) in 1994, Captain Ildephonse Nizeyimana, scheduled on November 1, was on Thursday postponed to January 17, next year.

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In his three previous appearances before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the accused pleaded not guilty to six charges related to genocide,  including genocide and extermination, murder and  rape as a crimes against humanity, murder as violation of article 3 common to Geneva convention and rape as a violation of article 3 of the statute.

‘'I plead not guilty your honour,'' responded Captain Nizeyimana as the Presiding Judge, Lee Muthoga read the charges one after another and asked how he would plead.

The defendant was second in command in charge of intelligence and military operations of the Non-commissioned Officers School (ESO) in the southern town of Butare.

‘'From on or about 20 April, 1994, Idelphonse Nizeyimana authorized, ordered or instigated soldiers from the FAR, ESO, Ngoma Camp and Butare Gendarmerie Camp, and Interahamwe, who were the members of the joint criminal enterprise (...) to kill many civilians identified as Tutsis at Butare Hospital,'' stated part of the amended indictment.

The indictment also alleged that he made a similar order to kill many Tutsi civilians at Butare University with words to the effect that ‘'no Tutsi should remain.''

‘'Your are presumably not guilty as you may be aware of that unless the prosecution proved that, beyond reasonable doubts,'' Judge Muthoga assured Capt. Nizeyimana immediately after finishing pleading his innocence.

Prosecution Counsel Drew White told the Chamber that he expected to present 40 witnesses for his case while the opposing team led by its lead defense Counsel John Philpot anticipated to field between 30 and 40 defense witnesses for his client.

Capt. Nizeyimana made his initial appearance on October 14, 2009 and pleaded not guilty.

On February 25, 2010, the Chamber granted the prosecution leave to amend the indictment and filed the amended indictment on March 1. Nizeyimana pleaded not guilty to the charges in further appearance on March 5.

On March 29, the Chamber granted partially a motion by the accused alleging defects on the amended indictment. This forced the prosecution on August 31, to seek further amendments.

Nizeyimana was arrested in Kampala (Uganda) on October 5, 2009 and transferred to the UN Detention facility in Arusha (Tanzania) the following day.


© Hirondelle News Agency