Rwandan genocide trial opens in Germany

18th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

A former Rwandan mayor went on trial Tuesday accused of ordering three Tutsi massacres during the country's 1994 genocide, in the first such case prosecuted in Germany.

Onesphore Rwabukombe, a 54-year-old ethnic Hutu, is accused of genocide, murder as well as incitement of genocide and murder before the higher regional court in the western city of Frankfurt.

"Between April 11 and 15, 1994 the accused ordered and coordinated three massacres in which a total of at least 3,730 members of the Tutsi minority who had sought refuge in church buildings were killed," prosecutor Christian Ritscher read out from the charge sheet in court.

Rwabukombe, a former mayor of the town of Muvumba in northeastern Rwanda who has lived in Germany for several years, was arrested by German police in July. The charges were filed with a court in Frankfurt on July 29.

The trial is to due to run until at least October. He could face life in prison if convicted.

The Rwandan government and now German prosecutors accuse him of involvement in the systematic killing campaign in 1994 which left an estimated 800,000 dead, most of them Tutsis.

© 2011 AFP

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