Rwandan genocide suspect, Ladislas Ntaganzwa, refused to enter a plea on Monday when he made his first appearance in court for a pre-trial hearing.
Ntaganzwa, who had been one of nine high-profile fugitives wanted in connection with the 1994 massacre, was extradited from DR Congo this March three months after his arrest in December.
Ntaganzwa told the Nyarugunga Primary Court that he “cannot comment on the charges.”
The prosecution said that the former mayor of Nyakizu, in the now Southern Province, faces five counts of charges namely: genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, and crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, and mass rape.
“Ntaganzwa substantially participated in the planning, preparation and execution of the massacre of over twenty thousand Tutsis at Cyahinda Parish” the prosecution said, further asking the court to grant one month “to facilitate further investigation and completion of the case file preparation.”
The request for more time by the prosecution provoked Ntaganzwa to break his silence in court saying: “The prosecution is pleading for a month for further investigation; this means they don’t have any case against me. Let them go and do investigation.”
His lawyer told the court that his client chose to remain silent because he is yet to see his case file as transferred from the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda (ICTR).
Ntaganzwa was among six suspects whose cases were referred to Kigali after the Arusha-based ICTR cessation. He becomes the third suspect under the ICTR docket to be tried by Rwandan court, others being Pastor Jean Uwinkindi and Bernard Munyagishari, whose cases are still pending in the high court.
The eight other high-profile fugitives who remain at large include Felicien Kabuga, Augustin Bizimana, Protais Mpiranya, Fulgence Kayishema, Pheneas Munyarugarama, Aloys Ndimbati, Ryandikayo, and Charles Sikubwabo. ICTR however did not transfer cases of the three genocide suspects considered to bare the greatest responsibility – Kabuga, Bizimana and Mpiranya.