In his initial appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) today, Gaspard Kanyarukiga plead not guilty to all four counts in an indictment charging him with genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.
Kanyarukiga entered his plea in Trial Chamber III before Judge Charles Michael Dennis Byron (St. Kitts & Nevis) who was presiding in his first case as a Tribunal judge.
South African authorities arrested Kanyarukiga on 16 July 2004 and transferred him to the Tribunal on 19 July. Kanyarukiga, 59, was a businessman in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.
In an indictment confirmed on 4 March 2002, he is alleged to have transported police and Interahamwe militia to Nyange Church in the Kivumu commune of Kibuye in western Rwanda where they poured fuel through the roof, set the building on fire and used grenades and guns to kill about 2000 Tutsi civilians who had taken refuge there.
Kanyarukiga allegedly supervised the massacres and then ordered the corpses of the victims removed and Nyange Church to be destroyed. He is alleged to have held several meetings with religious and political leaders in Kivumu where they conspired to kill members of the Tutsi ethnic group.
Kanyarukiga is being held in the UN Detention Facility in Arusha pending start of his trial.