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Father Nsengimana pleads not guilty

Hormisdas Nsengimana, a priest who was formerly Rector of Christ-Roi College in Nyanza, Nyabisindu Commune in Butare Prefecture, today pleaded not guilty to four counts charging him with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity for murder and extermination. The plea was entered when he made his initial appearance before Judge Pavel Dolenc.

The accused is alleged to have been among the organisers of the slaughter of Tutsis in Nyanza, Butare in 1994. He is accused of playing a leading role in a group of killers called Les Dragons (The Dragons) or Escadron de la Mort (Death Squad) which played a crucial role in the killing of Tutsis in and around the Christ-Roi College and in other parts of Butare Prefecture.

At one time, Nsengimana, 48, is alleged to have told soldiers involved in the killings, “Let me kill this Tutsi dog myself, since I am sick and tired of him.” Then brandishing his weapon he allegedly screamed, “Let me kill and let me be proud of it, let me stop when my weapon kills five.”

Further, the accused is alleged to have been instrumental in the killing of several Tutsi priests from his college. In one incident he allegedly gave some money to a young orphan to get information about the whereabouts of three Tutsi priests who had fled the Christ-Roi College.

After being informed of their whereabouts, Nsengimana and his group allegedly left the college accompanied by some soldiers, in search of the priests who were later killed.

Nsengimana is also accused of embezzling assets of the college including stealing a safe from one Father Mathieu Ngirumpatse, who was Bursar of the college, before killing him. He is said to have stolen the clothes of his victims and looted their goods that he shared with his group.

The accused was arrested in Yaounde, Cameroun on 21 March 2002 and transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha on 10 April 2002. He is represented by duty counsel appointed by the Registrar until he either engages his own counsel or is assigned counsel under the Tribunal’s legal aid scheme.

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