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Major François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye pleads not guilty

Former Commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion (RECCE) in the Rwandan Army, during the genocide of 1994, François Xavier Nzuwonemeye pleaded not guilty today, when he made his initial appearance before Judge Pavel Dolenc of Trial Chamber III. Major Nzuwonemeye is accused of conspiracy to commit genocide, genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against Humanity and Violations of the Geneva Conventions

Major Nzuwonemeye was arrested in France on 15 February 2000 and transferred to United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha on the night of 23 to 24 May 2000. He is alleged to have been involved with prominent civilian and high ranking military in the plan that resulted in the massive killing of Tutsi population and moderate Hutu.

The components of that plan consisted , among other things, in recourse to hatred and ethnic violence, the training and distribution of weapons to militiamen as well as the preparation of lists of people to be eliminated.

Military personnel, under his authority, are alleged to have been involved in tracking down, arresting, sexually assaulting and murdering members of the Opposition and Tutsi population including the former Prime Minister of Rwanda, Agathe Uwilingiyimana. François-Xavier Nzuwonemeye is also accused with other high ranking officials of the murder of the ten Belgian soldiers from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR).

The Prosecutor argued that as Commander of the reconnaissance Battalion of Rwandan Army during the period of the genocide, Major Nzuwonemeye knew or had reasons to know that killings were about to be carried out or had been carried out by his subordinates and failed to prevent such crimes or to punish the perpetrators.

Major Nzuwonemeye was born on 30 August 1955 in Musasa Commune, Kigali Rural Prefecture. He was assisted by Duty Counsel Bharat Chadha (Tanzania).

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