Arusha, September 23, 2014 (FH) – Trial hearings kicked off Monday in Kigali in the case of Charles Bandora, the first genocide suspect extradited to Rwanda from a European country.

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Bandora was handed over to Rwandan authorities by Norway on March 10, 2013.

On the first day, the court heard two witnesses who launched strong accusations against the former businessman, according to Rwandan private newspaper the New Times.

The first witness, Laurent Hakizamungu, said he had lost his entire family in an attack that was carefully planned in April 1994 at Bandora’s house in Ruhuha, southeast Rwanda.

At the time Bandora was a relatively prosperous businessman in this rural region close to the border with Burundi.

“When the attack took place, I had already managed to flee to Burundi, but people who joined me there said the attack was launched from Bandora’s house,” Hakizamungu told the court.

After his examination by the prosecutor, the witness was allowed to suspend his testimony for personal reasons. He is set to be cross-examined by the defence on Monday.

The second witness, Cyprien Kayitare, alleged that a meeting to prepare massacres took place on April 7 at Bandora’s house. He is due to be cross-questioned on Tuesday.

Bandora, born in 1954, is charged with genocide and extermination. According to the prosecution, he was one of the top local leaders of the former presidential party MRND. Bandora denies this.

“I had been relieved of my duties as vice-president of the MRND because I was not an educated man, and a man who is not educated cannot give instructions to the bourgmestre (mayor), the army and the police,” the accused told the court on Monday.