Mika Muhimana, a former businessman and Councillor in Gishyita Commune, Kibuye Prefecture, today pleaded not guilty to seven counts charging him with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Conventions. The plea was entered during his initial appearance before Trial Chamber III composed of Judges Lloyd G. Williams, presiding, Yakov Ostrovsky and Pavel Dolenc.
The plea was entered on his behalf by the Trial Chamber, after he failed to enter a plea. This is in accordance with Article 62 (3) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the Tribunal, which provides that, should the accused fail to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, the Trial Chamber shall enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
Muhimana, 49, arrested in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on 8 November 1999 (see Press Release no. 211), is charged with having conspired with others to kill Tutsis in Kibuye Prefecture and to have participated in attacks on Bisesero hill, where from about 9 April 1994 to 30 June 1994 thousands of predominantly Tutsi men, women and children sought refuge.
The charges allege that, on various occasions during April, May and June 1994, the accused with others brought to the area of Bisesero armed members of the Gendarmerie Nationale, communal police, Interahamwe militia and civilians and directed them to attack civilians seeking refuge there. Muhimana is also alleged to have personally taken part in the attacks in the area of Bisesero and killed persons seeking refuge there.
The accused is jointly charged with seven other accused, two of whom, Clement Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana, have already been convicted by the Tribunal.