The Hague, October 23, 2012 (FH) – The trial of Rwandan Yvonne Ntacyobatabara has opened in the Netherlands, the first genocide trial ever to be heard before a Dutch court. After a first hearing Monday, the court on Tuesday rejected a defence request to have the case thrown out.

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The accused is wife of Augustin Basebya, a former parliamentarian of the hardline Hutu CDR party. She has been living since 1998 in the Netherlands, where she obtained citizenship in 2004.

Yvonne Ntacyobatabara is charged with six counts of genocide and incitement to genocide. She is accused notably of participation in a massacre at a church in Gikondo in early April 1994. According to the prosecutor, she incited militia groups in the area to commit genocide through presents, promises and threats.

The defence had argued in a first session that the case should be thrown out because the prosecution failed to disclose a 2003 judgment by a court in Kigali. According to the defence, the judgment casts doubt on the credibility of numerous witnesses, including those that testified against Yvonne Ntacyobatabara.

Also in Monday’s hearing, the accused told the court she was innocent. She said the Rwandan prosecutor’s office had a list of genocide suspects and she was not on it. She also said the Dutch authorities had granted her citizenship after carrying out their own investigations.

This is the second time a court in the Netherlands has heard a case linked to the Rwandan genocide. In 2009, a Dutch court found former Rwandan militiaman Joseph Mpambara guilty of war crimes for his role in a massacre at Mugonero church, and sentenced him to life in jail. At that time Dutch courts did not have jurisdiction to try genocide cases.