‘'I plead not guilty. I never committed genocide. I never committed extermination to anybody whatsoever,'' said Uwinkindi in Kinyarwanda in response to questions asked by Judge Gberdao Gustave Kam, who administered his second appearance before the Tribunal.
The 59 year old pastor, dressed in dark suit with white shirt and blue tie with white strips, denied one count after another while standing in the dock. He is alleged to have committed the offences between April 6 and May 1994 in Kanzenze commune, Kigali Rural prefecture (Central Rwanda).
Pastor Uwinkindi was born in Rutsiro commune, Kibuye prefecture (west Rwanda) in 1951. According to the indictment, he is individually responsible for genocide and extermination because he allegedly planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in the preparation or execution of such crimes.
In addition, the indictment alleges, the defendant willfully and knowingly participated in a joint criminal enterprise whose common purpose was the commission of genocide and extermination against Tutsis. To fulfill the purpose, Uwinkindi allegedly acted in concert with others, among them, the former mayor of the commune, Bernard Gatanazi.
The indictment further alleges, among others, that the accused led several attacks and subsequent killing of Tutsis who took refuge in his own parish of Kayenzi in April 1994.
The second appearance by Pastor Uwinkindi comes following amendments of the indictment made by the prosecution on November 23, 2020. He made his initial appearance on July 9, 2010. Uwinkindi was arrested on June 30, 2010 in Uganda as he was coming into the country from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He is the second genocide suspect to be arrested in Uganda in less than a year. In October 2009, Uganda apprehended former Rwandan military officer, Captain Idelphonse Nizeyimana, after he entered the country from DRC.
As trial date for Uwinkindi has not been set, hearing of the case against Nizeyimana has been scheduled for January 17, next year. There is a pending application by the prosecution to have Uwinkindi's case alongside two others transferred to Rwanda for trial.
© Hirondelle News Agency