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Former priest arrested in Cameroon; Nzabirinda alias "Biroto" transferred to Arusha

A priest charged with genocide was arrested in Cameroun while another accused person was transferred from Belgium.

Hormisdas Nsengimana, a former priest who was also Rector of Christ-Roi College in Nyanza, Nyabisindu Commune in Butare Prefecture (Rwanda), was arrested today in Yaounde by the Cameroonian authorities on the basis of an arrest warrant submitted by the Tribunal last week.

Nsengimana is charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity for murder and extermination. Nsengimana, who was born on 6 August 1954 in Cyanika Commune, Gikongoro Prefecture, is alleged to have played a leading role in a group of killers called Les Dragons or Escadron de la mort. This group is alleged to have played a crucial role in the killing of Tutsis in Butare Prefecture.

Joseph Nzabirinda, former organiser of youth movement in Ngoma Commune, Butare Prefecture, was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha (Tanzania) on 20 March 2002 from Brussels, Belgium, where he was arrested on 21 December 2001 on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the Tribunal. He is accused of involvement in the genocide of 1994 in Rwanda. He will appear before a judge of the ICTR to enter a plea in the coming days.

The indictment against Nzabirinda contains four counts charging him with genocide, or, in the alternative, complicity in genocide, and crimes against humanity for extermination and rape. He is alleged to have carried out those crimes in Ngoma Commune together with Joseph Kanyabashi, the bourgmestre (mayor), who is currently on trial before the ICTR in the “Butare” case. Nzabirinda is alleged also to have raped several Tutsi girls in the Sahera sector, Ngoma commune.

Nzabirinda, nicknamed “Biroto”, was born in 1957 in Sahera sector (Rwanda). He was a former defence investigator working for the defence team of Sylvain Nsabimana, former prefect of Butare, who is currently on trial with five other accused in the “Butare Case” before Trial Chamber II of the ICTR.

Nzabirinda’s contract was terminated last year when investigations by the Registry established that he had presented false identity documents to the Tribunal in order to obtain approval for employment as a defence investigator (investigators for Defence teams are not staff members of the UN Tribunal). Nzabirindi was hired by the lead Counsel of the defence team.

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