The special chamber of High court in Rwanda has conducted the second hearing in the case involving Genocide suspect Ladislas Ntaganzwa.
Ntaganzwa is a former mayor of Nyakizu commune in current Nyaruguru district. He is the first suspect to be arrested among 9 genocide perpetrators the US government has placed a $5million bounty.
In December 2015, Ntaganzwa was arrested from the Democratic Republic of Congo and transferred to Rwanda in March 2016. He is charged with eight counts related to Genocide crimes and crimes committed against Humanity.
During the hearing yesterday, prosecution provided evidence that Ntaganzwa meticulously planned and executed the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi which claimed over 1 million Tutsi lives in 100 days.
As per evidences of the prosecution, Ntaganzwa did not say anything just in the passing, rather, he recorded every decision he made.
Prosecution presented several correspondences from Ntaganzwa to several people, including famous Genocide convicts.
One of the letters on May 5, 1994 was destined to the leader – Sous Prefet of Rwabusoro S/Prefecture I Butare whereby he updated him on night patrol operations.
He said; “it is clear that Tutsi wives married to Hutu corrupt their husband and incite them to insurgency and plan to create disorder,” prosecution said.
The prosecution told court that the plan was not anything else, but to create a case file for the Tutsi.
In another letter dated May 31, 1994, prosecution said that Ntaganzwa ordered for weapons and bullets to kill the Tutsi. The letter’s subject was: The Bullets needed for Nyakizu commune.
Court responded that there is no clear indication whether weapons were meant to exterminate the Tutsi because, as a leader, he could order for weapons for use by police – police communale then.
In our investigation, we did not find any information indicating that in Nyakizu there was any battlefield. Even if there was one, it would not be a responsibility of the mayor to order for weapons while there were security organs,” prosecution responded.
Also prosecution presented another letter dated June 6, 1994 Ntaganzwa addressed to Robert Kajuga, then president of Interahamwe militia.
The letter has a subject, “Safeguarding our national sovereignty.’’
Prosecution said, that Ntaganzwa demanded Kajuga to provide him with weapons. He said he needs the weapons “to face Inyenzi in case they attack my commune.”
However, prosecution was put to task to explain how this could have a link with a plan to kill Tutsi.
“If it was a matter of national security concern, Ntaganzwa would have addressed it to security organs, not to the chief of Interahamwe who was not an administrative authority anywhere,” the prosecution argued.
In the letter, Ntaganzwa secured an appointment to explain to Kajuga, the state of security in Nyakizu.
Prosecution presented 20 witnesses, most of whom pinned Ntaganzwa as the initiator of the project to burn houses of Tutsi in Southern province.
One witness recounted the Cyahinda parish incident which was within Ntaganzwa’s jurisdiction.
He met more than 50,000 Tutsi who had fled killings in their villages and told them to go back home or get killed within 30 minutes.
However, before this deadline could elapse, Ntaganzwa who was armed and Interahamwe militia and police officers had already surrounded the Tutsi camp.
“If one could escape Ntaganzwa’s bullet, they would not escape clubs, machetes and other traditional weapons used by Interahamwe,” the witness said.
Once, another witness said, Ntaganzwa made a notorious statement while saying that Hutu spent their money buying weapons while the Tutsi spent theirs buying cows.
“We are going to witness a battle between modern weapons and cow’ horns,” he said then.
Ntaganzwa is accused to have killed 20,000 Tutsi.
He is charged with; conspiracy to commit genocide, the genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitation to commit genocide, murder as a crime against humanity, extermination as a crime against humanity, persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds as crimes against humanity.
Other inhumane acts as crimes against humanity, violence to life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder, cruel treatment such as torture, mutilation, or any kind of physical maltreatment as a serious violation.
Hearing in this case will resume on June 8.