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Trial of minister begins

The trial of Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda, formerly Minister of Higher Education, Research and Culture in the Interim Government power in Rwanda from 8th April to 7th July 1994, opened today before Trial Chamber II of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) composed of Judges Laïty Kama (presiding), Mehmet Güney and William Sekule.

Mr. Kamuhanda was appointed minister in the interim government on 25th May 1994. He is charged with genocide, or in the alternative complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and direct and public incitement to commit genocide. He is also charged with four counts of crimes against humanity including rape, murder and extermination.

For the Prosecutor, Senior Trial Attorney Ken Fleming Q.C. of Australia, said that evidence will show that Mr. Kamuhanda committed these crimes in his home area of Gikomero Commune of Kigali Rural Prefecture.

Of the 11 former ministers who are now in ICTR custody, Andre Ntagerura, the former Transport Minister and Jean de Dieu Kamuhanda are currently on trial. The former Prime Minister, Jean Kambanda, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment, a sentence that was upheld by the Appeals Chamber in October 2000. The opening of the Kamuhanda case means that there are now five trials in progress before the ICTR involving a total of nine accused.

Mr. Kamuhanda is represented before the Trial Chamber by Aisha Conde of Guinea assisted by Grace Amakye of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Kamuhanda was arrested in Bourges, France on 26th November 1999 and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) detention facility in Arusha on 7th March 2000.

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