Before the genocide, the accused was also a professor at the National University of Butare. Since June 1993, he had been running the Butare section of the presidential party MRND.
According to his defence lawyer Protais Mutembe, he is charged with planning the genocide, inciting to genocide and distributing weapons. However, he was not present in Rwanda during the genocide.
In actuality, from April 6 to July 5, 1994, the accused was in Tanzania where he had arrived as a member of Juvenal Habyarimana's delegation for the Arusha peace talks.
After returning to Rwanda in July 1994, Runyinya went first to Cyangugu and then to Kigali where he was arrested two months later.
During his first appearance before the lower civil court of Huye (South of Rwanda), Barabwiriza asked to be released. However, the judge rejected the request citing the "gravity of the facts".
In a recent briefing, the Rwandan National Commission for Human Rights had requested in vain that the former botanist be freed.
The trial will resume on April 21.
© Hirondelle News Agency