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Bisengimana Pleads Guilty as Trial Chamber Dismisses Other Charges

Paul Bisengimana, former Bourgmestre of Gikoro commune, Kigali-Rural prefecture today pleaded guilty to charges of having aided and abetted in the commission of the crimes of murder and extermination as contained in counts two and four of the indictment against him. He however pleaded not guilty to the counts of genocide, complicity in genocide and rape as a crime against humanity.

Trial Chamber II composed of Judges Arlette Ramaroson, presiding, William Sekule and Solomy Balungi Bossa accepted Paul Bisengimana’s plea and convicted him of murder and extermination as crimes against humanity. Further, the Trial Chamber granted the Prosecutor’s request to withdraw the remaining three counts and dismissed the said counts in conformity with the plea agreement. The Chamber also ordered that the plea agreement itself be unsealed and placed in the public domain. Finally the Judges ordered that the accused be kept in detention under conditions which guarantee his security pending the sentencing hearing.

On 17 November 2005, the Trial Chamber rejected the plea agreement after noting that there were discrepancies between the indictment and the said agreement which had an impact on the unequivocal plea the accused had entered.

The amended indictment alleges that Bisengimana committed the crimes in Bugesera region in Kigali-Rural prefecture. Specifically it alleges that the accused organised, planned and participated in the killing of thousands of Tutsi civilians who had sought refuge at Musha church in Gikoro.

Bisengimana was arrested in Mali on 4 December 2001 and transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha on 11 March 2002. He was represented by his attorney Catherine Mabille of France. The Prosecution was led by Charles Adeogun-Phillips.

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