The former Prefect of Kigali-rural prefecture, François Karera, today pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide and crimes against humanity at his initial appearance before the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Judge Navanethem Pillay.
At the time of the events upon which those charges are based, François Karera was Prefect of Kigali-rural prefecture. He was appointed to that office in 1994 having previously been Deputy prefect and Bourgmestre (mayor) of one of the communes in Kigali-ville. He held the post of Prefect until mid-July.
According to the Indictment Karera is said to have ordered soldiers, communal Police officers and Interahamwe militia from Nyamirambo commune to destroy the houses of Tutsis and to kill their occupants. The accused himself distributed weapons for the purpose.
In the village of Ntarama he is said to have incited soldiers to attack Tutsi civilians who had taken refuge in the church saying “You people have been fighting the Tutsi for one week but now the job will be finished. I don’t want to see one Tutsi alive in Ntarama sector by tonight”.
Karera, together with Col. Théoneste Bagosora (who is also in the custody of the Tribunal) and other army officers, carried out patrols in the prefecture to search for Tutsi civilians and kill them.
François Karera was born in or about 1939 in Huro sector, Musasa Commune in Kigali-rural prefecture. He was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday 20 October 2001 and transferred to the ICTR Detention Facility in Arusha the same day.