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Trial of Gaspard Kanyarukiga Commences

The trial of Gaspard Kanyarukiga, a former businessman of Kivumu, Kibuye prefecture, began on 31 August 2009 before Trial Chamber II, composed of Judges Taghrid Hikmet, Presiding, Seon Ki Park and Joseph Masanche. Kanyarukiga is charged with four counts: Genocide, Complicity in genocide, Conspiracy to commit genocide, and Crimes against humanity (Extermination).

In its opening remarks the Prosecution told the Trial Chamber that it will call ten factual witnesses, both survivors and perpetrators of the Nyange Massacres, whose testimony will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crimes.

Trial Attorney, Ms. Holo Makwaia stated that thousands of Tutsis were massacred at Nyange Parish when the church was razed to the ground. She added that the Prosecution would present evidence that Kanyarukiga was one of the instrumental persons in the commission of genocide in Nyange Parish.

Traditionally churches were safe havens when attacks occurred. In 1994, this was not the case, the Prosecution told the Court, as the accused Kanyarukiga and his co-perpetrators who included Athanase Seromba, (serving life sentence) Gregoire Ndahimana, recently arrested, who was the burgomaster of Kivumu commune, Fulgence Kayishema, a police inspector, Ndugutse Habyambere, still at large, and others teamed up to execute their common objective, that of exterminating the Tutsis of Kivumu commune.

Gaspard Kanyarukiga was born in 1945 in Kivumu Commune. He was arrested on 16 June 2004 in the Republic of South Africa and was transferred to the UN Detention Facility in Arusha on 19 June 2004.

The Defence is led by Counsel Jacobs David from Canada. It will make its opening remarks at a later date.

For information only - Not an official document

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