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Nzabirinda’s Guilty Plea Accepted

Joseph Nzabirinda, nickname ‘Biroto’, former businessman and youth organiser in Sahera sector, Ngoma commune appeared today before Trial Chamber II composed of Judges Arlette Ramaroson, presiding, William Sekule and Solomy Balungi Bossa and pleaded guilty to the new indictment charging him with one count of murder as a crime against humanity. The Chamber accepted his new plea and set 17 January 2007 for the sentencing hearing.

In the new indictment, amended on 9 December 2006, and in the plea agreement between the parties of the same date, Nzabirinda is charged with one count of murder as a crime against humanity.

During the hearing, the Prosecution stated that Nzabirinda was an approving spectator as a result of his presence during the attacks. The Defence agreed that the accused had no blood on his hands but was an accomplice by omission. The Prosecution withdrew its previous charges of the indictment of 2001 due to lack of evidence. The Chamber granted the request of the Defence that Nzabirinda be held in a secure location, away from other detainees to ensure his security until his sentence hearing.

Addressing the Chamber, the accused expressed deep remorse for his crimes and asked for pardon from the people of Rwanda for the crimes committed.

In the initial indictment of 6 December 2001, the accused was charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity and rape as a crime against humanity. In his initial appearance of 27 March 2002 the accused pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

zabirinda, born in 1957, in Sahera sector, was arrested in Brussels on 26 July 2001and transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility on 21 March 2002. The accused is alleged to have participated in meetings with the Interahamwe during which the planned execution of Tutsis was discussed. It is further alleged that he encouraged attacks on the Tutsi gathered at Kabakobwe hill and at roadblocks throughout Sahera sector.

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