Augustin Ngirabatware today made his initial appearance before Judge Asoka de Silva of the UN International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and pleaded not guilty to ten counts charging him with genocide and serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Ngirabatware (51), former Minister of Planning, is charged with genocide; conspiracy to commit genocide; complicity in genocide; direct and public incitement to commit genocide; crimes against humanity for murder, extermination, rape, inhumane acts; and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and of Additional Protocol II.
According to the indictment, the accused is alleged to have conspired with others to work out a plan with the intent to exterminate the civilian Tutsi population and eliminate members of the opposition, so that they could remain in power.
The Prosecution stated that the components of this plan consisted of, among other things, recourse to hatred and ethnic violence, the training of and distribution of weapons to militiamen as well as preparation of lists of people to be eliminated. In executing the plan, the accused with others, organised, ordered and participated in the massacres perpetrated against the Tutsi population and moderate Hutu.
Ngirabatware was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany on 17 September 2007 and was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha, Tanzania on 8 October 2008.
Initially, Ngirabatware was jointly charged with Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, former Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research who, on 22 January 2004, was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for the remainder of his life, following dismissal of his appeal on 19 September 2005.