Kigali, August 13, 2012 (FH) – Genocide suspect Jean Uwinkindi has refused four times in a row to answer questions from the Prosecution of the High court in Kigali, where he is attending the preliminary hearings of his trial for genocide.

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According to Prosecution’s spokesman Alain Mukurarinda, Uwinkindi is arguing that he “has the right to be silent”.

Pastor Uwinkindi was arrested on June 30, 2010 in Uganda and transferred to the seat of ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania, two days later. On April 19, 2012, he became the first genocide suspect transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to Kigali to face trial before the High Court of his native country. He pleads not guilty to all the charges.

His refusal to speak doesn’t prevent the proceedings to go on, Mukurarinda told Hirondelle News Agency. “Preliminary hearings are still slated to resume on August 27”.

Uwinkindi’s defence lawyer Gatera Gashabana didn’t comment on Uwinkindi's refusal to answer questions, but told Hirondelle News Agency on the phone that they would be ready for the preliminary hearings. “We will request our client to be released on bail”, he added.

Uwinkindi is charged with genocide and extermination. He is accused of encouraging and leading the killings of Tutsis in his Kayenzi parish during the 1994 genocide.