Former Rwandan prefect enters not guilty plea before UN tribunal

21 November 2002 – A former prefect today appeared before the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and pleaded not guilty to charges that he was responsible for the deaths of some 60 Tutsi boys hiding in a church during the country’s genocide in 1994.

Col. Tharcisse Renzaho, former prefect of Kigali-ville, is charged with three counts of genocide, or alternatively, complicity in genocide, and murder as a crime against humanity. He was arrested on 29 September in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania the following day.

Colonel Renzaho is alleged, both individually and acting in concert with others, to have caused many Tutsis to be killed at St. Famille Parish Church, St Paul’s Pastoral Centre, and at the Centre d’Education de Langues Africaines (CELA) in Kigali. At CELA he allegedly ordered the murder of approximately 100 persons in April 1994 and at St. Paul’s he allegedly ordered the murder of sixty Tutsi boys.

According to the Tribunal, Colonel Renzaho publicly incited Hutu civilians to kill Tutsis. In one instance in April 1994, he is alleged to have broadcast orders over Radio Rwanda to soldiers, gendarmes, militia, local citizens and demobilized soldiers to construct and man roadblocks for purposes of intercepting, identifying and killing Tutsis.

The UN court was told that the accused also sent Interahamwe militia to the Nyarugenge commune to kill Tutsis and that Andre Kameya, a journalist, was also killed pursuant to his written orders.

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