Rwandan genocide trial delayed

The start of the trial on genocide charges of four Rwandan former ministers was delayed on Monday because one of the accused’s lawyers was not present in the UN tribunal, the independent Hirondelle news agency reported.

Christian Gauthier, a Canadian lawyer defending former civil service minister Prosper Mugiraneza, was due on Tuesday evening in Arusha, Tanzania, the seat of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Gauthier was expected to meet his client on Wednesday and the trial is now expected to start on Thursday.

Mugiraneza’s co-defendants are former health, foreign and trade ministers, Casimir Bizimungu, Jerome Bicamumpaka and Justin Mugenzi.

All face charges on 10 counts related to genocide and crimes against humanity for their alleged roles during the government-backed attempt in 1994 to rid Rwanda of its Tutsi minority population.

Over the course of 100 days that year, up to a million people were slaughtered, mostly Tutsis but also Hutus opposed to the genocide and Hutus killed in reprisal attacks.

According to the charge sheet, all four former ministers “had authoritity over the militias” which carried out most of the killings.

They allegedly committed the crimes while serving in the interim government that was in power from from April 9 to mid-July 1994. - Sapa-AFP

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