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Former Bourgmestre of Mabanza, Ignace Bagilishema, pleads not guilty to thirteen counts

Ignace Bagilishema, a former Bourgmestre of Mabanza Commune in Kibuye Prefecture, today pleaded "not guilty" to 13 counts preferred against him. He entered the plea during his initial appearance before Trial Chamber 2 composed of Judges William Sekule (presiding), Tafazzal Khan and Yakov Ostrovsky.

Bagilishema, born in 1954 in Mabanza, is charged with Conspiracy to Commit Genocide, Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violation of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Convention and of Additional Protocol II.

He is alleged to have murdered, assisted and conspired to murder Tutsis throughout Kibuye Prefecture, between 9 April and 30 June 1994. On or about 17 April 1994, the accused is alleged to have ordered men, women and children into the Catholic Church and St. Jean Complex, and into the Stadium in Kibuye, where he knew or had reason to know that an attack was going to occur. Indeed the attack took place and people inside the complex and the stadium were killed using guns, grenades, machettes, spears, cudgels and other weapons.

Bagilishema surrendered himself to the Tribunal in South Africa after signing, on 16 February 1999, a declaration agreeing to do so. On 20 February 1999, the Tribunal served him with a warrant of arrest in Pretoria, where he had been detained by South African authorities in connection with his immigration status. He was transferred to the Tribunal Detention Facility in Arusha the same day.

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