The Prosecutor of the ICTR Judge Louise Arbour on 17 June 1997 signed an amended indictment in the case of Mr. Jean-Paul Akayesu. The indictment contains new charges of sexual violence against female civilians the accused is alleged to have committed between April and June 1994 in Rwanda.
The Trial Chamber 1 authorized the Prosecutor to amend the indictment on the basis of statements by five witnesses alleging that women who had taken refuge at the Taba Commune were sexually abused.
This is the first time the Tribunal has charged a suspect with rape and other forms of sexual violence.
Mr. Jean-Paul Akayesu, who was a Bourgmestre of Taba Commune, is also charged with Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and Violations of Article 3 Common to the Geneva Conventions.
The amended indictment charges that Mr. Akayesu knew and facilitated the commission of sexual violence, beatings and murders of mostly Tutsi women who had sought refuge at the Taba bureau communal.
"These acts of sexual violence, were generally accompanied by explicit threats of death or bodily harm. The female displaced civilians lived in constant fear and their physical and psychological health deteriorated as a result of the sexual violence, beatings and killings," the indictment states.
Mr. Akayesu is defended by Mr. Nicolas Tiangaye and he is scheduled to appear before Chamber 1 on 22 October 1997 to answer the new charges.