General Augustin Ndindiyilimana, the former Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Gendarmerie Nationale, today pleaded not guilty to ten counts charging him with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions. The accused is also charged with being responsible for the murder of ten Belgian soldiers from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR).
The accused is alleged to have participated in planning and preparing the massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994. Ndindiyilimana, who was represented by a Duty Counsel, entered the plea when he made his initial appearance before Judge Pavel Dolenc of Trial Chamber III.
According to the indictment read before the accused, the crimes which included sexual violence and rape of Tutsi women had been planned and prepared for a long time by prominent civilian, military personnel and gendarmes on the orders and directives of authorities including General Ndindiyilimana.
It further alleges that the accused conspired with others to work out a plan with intent to exterminate the civilian Tutsis and eliminate members of the opposition. The crimes, it says, were committed by the accused and others personally, by persons they assisted or by their subordinates, and with their knowledge and consent. General Ndindiyilimana and other senior Government and Army officials are also alleged to have failed to prevent or punish the perpetrators when elements of the Gendarmerie, the Rwandan Army and the Interahamwe carried out the massacre of Tutsis.
General Ndindiyilimana was born in 1943, in Nyaruhengeri commune, Butare Prefecture. He was appointed to the position of Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie Nationale on 2 September 1992. The accused was arrested in the Belgian town of Termonde on 29 January 2000, on the basis of a warrant of arrest issued by the ICTR, and transferred to the Tribunal’s Detention Facility in Arusha on 22 April 2000.