The trial of Georges Anderson Nderubumwe Rutaganda began on Tuesday, 18 March 1997, before Trial Chamber 1 of the Internationa1 Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), composed of Judge Laïty Kama (presiding), and Judges Lennart Aspegren and Navanethem Pillay.
When opening the session, presiding Judge Kama reminded the parties in court of the rules that will govern hearings throughout the trial, in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal namely: respect for witnesses, freedom of the Judges to ask any witness any question at any stage of the proceedings, the rights of the defence, etc.
Following the remarks made by the presiding Judge, the Prosecutor made his opening statement and introduced his evidence. He said that the Prosecution would call about 35 witnesses, including expert witnesses before the Tribunal.
The Defence counsel., in turn, made his opening statement which focused on the evidence that the Defence will bring before the Tribunal and on the protection of defence witnesses.
Questioning of the first expert witness for the Prosecution began in the afternoon.
Georges Anderson Nderubumwe Rutaganda was born in 1958 in Masango Commune, Gitarama prefecture. He was an agricultural engineer and businessman, and general manager and proprietor of Rutaganda SARL. Georges Rutaganda was also a member of the National and Prefectorial Committees of the Mouvement républicain national pour le développement et la démocratie (MRND) and a shareholder in Radio télévision libre des mille collines. In April 1994, he was Vice president of the National Committee of the Interahamwe, the youth wing of the MRND. He is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions.
Georges Rutaganda was arrested in Zambia on 10 October 1995. He was transferred to Arusha on 26 May 1996 and made his initial appearance, during which he pleaded “not guilty”, on 29 May of the same year. Georges Rutaganda is the second accused person whose trial has opened before the ICTR.
The trial will continue in the coming weeks with the hearing of witnesses for the Prosecution.