Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, former Minister for Culture and Higher Education in the interim Government of Rwanda in 1994, today pleaded not guilty to nine counts charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity. The plea was entered during his initial appearance before Judge Yakov Ostrovsky.
The Prosecution alleged that, during the month of April 1994, Kamuhanda had supervised killings in Gikomero Commune in Kigali-Rural Prefecture where he had family ties. On several occasions he is said to have personally distributed firearms, grenades and machetes to the militia to enable them to kill Tutsis and to fight the RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front). The indictment further alleges that the accused personally led attacks of soldiers and Interahamwe militia against Tutsi refugees in the prefecture, notably on or about 12 April 1994 at the parish church and adjoining school in Gikomero.
According to the indictment, "On that occasion, Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda arrived at the school with a group of soldiers and Interahamwe armed with firearms and grenades. He directed the militia into the courtyard of the school compound and gave them the order to attack. The soldiers and Interahamwe attacked the refugees. Several thousand people were killed."
Kamuhanda was born on 3 March 1953 in Gikomero Commune in Kigali-Rural prefecture. He was an adviser to the President of the interim Government, Théodore Sindikubwabo before his appointment as Minister for Culture and Higher Education. The accused who had been arrested at Bourges, France on 26 November 1999 was transferred to the Tribunal's Detention Facility in Arusha on 3 March 2000.