The trial of Colonel Tharcisse Renzaho, former prefect of Kigali-ville, began today before Trial Chamber I composed of Judges Erik Møse, presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov and Florence Rita Arrey.
In its opening remarks, the Prosecution led by Senior Trial Attorney Jonathan Moses, told the Trial Chamber that it will present evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crimes he is charged with at various places in Kigali prefecture. It added that it will call a range of witnesses to prove its case. These will include victims, co-perpetrators and from a variety of ethnic groups, and differing social and educational backgrounds.
Renzaho who was also the Chairman of the Civil Defence Committee for Kigali-ville is facing six counts charging him with genocide, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity for murder and rape, and serious violations of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol II. He pleaded not guilty to all charges during his further appearance of 3 June 2005.
The Prosecution stated that Renzaho was chosen as préfet of Kigali-ville not because of his administrative background but due to his military background. The accused, it alleged, assisted in the preparation of the genocide both as a public official and a private individual. Furthermore, Renzaho’s authority did not diminish after 6 April 1994 for on 12 April Renzaho was left in charge of the capital, as the most senior government official. Evidence will be presented to prove his involvement at roadblocks throughout the city to which he supplied weapons and ammunition.
The Prosecution said the accused is alleged to have had under his direct control at least 200 policemen, administrative officials as well as the gendarmes and no effort was made by Renzaho to stop the deliberate targeting of Tutsis. He is specifically charged with the killings of Tutsi at CELA (Centre d’Etude des Langues Africaines), St. Paul Centre and Sainte Famille Parish.
The Prosecution stated that there was also widespread rape of women who were considered as ‘food for the soldiers.’
The Prosecution intends to call a range of witnesses in order to prove Renzaho’s genocidal intent beyond reasonable doubt.
Renzaho was born in 1944 in Kibungo prefecture. He was arrested on 29 September 2002 in the Democratic Republic of Congo and transferred to the UN Detention Facility on 30 September 2002. He is represented by François Cantier from France and Mr Barnabé Nekui (Cameroon).