Expatica news

Rwandan massacre suspect denies all involvement

10 May 2005

BRUSSELS – One of the two Rwandan businessmen being tried in Brussels for war crimes has denied any part in the massacre.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, Etienne Nzabonimana, 53, said he had remained on his land during the massacre in Kibungo when around 50,000 people were killed.

He said when he left his country for Belgium he still had no knowledge of the genocide that had taken place.

“I only spoke of my work,” he said. “I respected everyone,” he said, through an interpreter.

Nzabonimana is being tried along with his half-brother Samuel Ndashyikirwa, 43, under Belgium’s controversial “universal competence” law which allows suspects to face justice for crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.

It is the second time that Rwandans have been tried for crimes committed in the massacre in which about 800,000 people were killed. In 2001, four, including two nuns, were sentenced to prison terms of between 12 and 20 years for their parts in the genocide.

Nzabonimana, who was a big beer wholesaler in Kibungo, is suspected of having given orders to the “interhamwe” – the extremist hutu militia and lent his vehicles.

The trial, which is expected to last around seven weeks, continues.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news