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Alfred Musema pleads "not guilty" to six counts

A former Director of Gisovu Tea Factory in Kibuye Prefecture in Rwanda, Alfred Musema today pleaded not guilty to the six counts contained in the indictment accusing him of participating in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. He entered the plea during his initial appearance before Trial Chamber 1, in the absence of his lead Counsel Marie-Paule Honegger of the Bar of Switzerland.

The accused is charged with Genocide, Conspiracy to Commit Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Serious Violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II. The Prosecution alleged that Musema was responsible for the killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the Tutsi population who sought refuge in Bisesero area.

"In concert with others, Alfred Musema brought to the area of Bisesero armed individuals and directed them to attack the people seeking refuge there. And often in concert with others, Alfred Musema personally attacked and killed persons seeking refuge in Bisesero," the indictment stated.

The accused, who was born on 22 August 1949 in Rutare commune in Byumba prefecture, was arrested in Switzerland on 11 February 1995 and transferred to the Tribunal's Detention Facilities in Arusha on 20 May 1997.

Noting the repeated failure of Defence Counsel Marie-Paule Honegger to appear in court, the Chamber refused her future audience before the Tribunal and asked the Registrar to assign a new Counsel to Alfred Musema.

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