The trial of François Karera, former Prefect of Kigali Rural, began on 9 January 2006 before Trial Chamber I composed of judges Erik Møse, presiding, Sergei Alekseevich Egorov and Florence Rita Arrey.
In his opening remarks, the Prosecutor Hassan Bubacar Jallow told the Trial Chamber that the accused played a leading role in the massacres of Tutsis in Kigali Rural Prefecture and in Kigali city where he lived.
Karera faces four counts charging him with genocide and crimes against humanity. He is specifically accused of killing hundreds of Tutsis who had sought refuge in a church at Ntarama, south of Kigali, in April 1994. He allegedly led a convoy of vehicles which brought Interahamwe and other armed men to the church where he joined them in attacking the refugees. The Prosecution intends to call 20 witnesses.
The accused was arrested in Nairobi, Kenya on 20 October 2001 and transferred to the United Nations Detention Facility in Arusha the same day. He is represented by Carmelle Marchessault and Steven Kelliher both from Canada.