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Captain Sagahutu pleads not guilty

During his initial appearance today, Captain Innocent Sagahutu a senior military officer pleaded not guilty to twelve counts charging him with complicity in genocide,genocide, crimes against humanity, including rape, and violations of the Geneva Conventions. The plea was entered before Judge Mehmet Güney, (Trial Chamber II) of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

Captain Sagahutu, a former second-in-command of the Reconnaissance Battalion and Commander of Company A in the same Battalion of the Rwanda Armed Forces also denied charges connecting him to the killing of former Prime Minister, Mrs. Agathe Uwilingiyimana and ten Belgian soldiers who were guarding her.

The indictment alleged that the accused ordered the use of armored vehicles to attack Belgian soldiers who were guarding the Prime Minister. "In fact, the ten Belgian soldiers present were disarmed, arrested and taken to Kigali Military Camp where, after several attacks over some hours, they were all killed."

It further alleged that after having tracked, located and arrested the Prime Minister the accused was asked whether the Prime Minister should be brought back to Kigali camp to which he responded by saying "for what reasons." Shortly thereafter the Prime Minister was killed.

Furthermore it was alleged that gendarmes and militiamen committed massacres of the Tutsi population and moderate Hutus and other crimes such as rape and sexual assaults throughout the territory of Rwanda with the knowledge of the accused.

The accused, acting in concert with others, is alleged to have participated in the planning, preparation or execution of the killings of Tutsis and moderate Hutus. "The crimes were committed by them personally, by persons they assisted or by their subordinates, and with their knowledge or concert," the indictment stated.

Captain Sagahutu was arrested in Ringkjobing, Denmark on 15 February 2000 and transferred to the Detention Facility of the ICTR on 24 November 2000.

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