This article was originally published in English
This is the sixth trial in the Belgian capital related to the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, in which hundreds of thousands of people died.
The trial began on Monday in Brussels against two former Rwandan officials accused of “war crimes” and “crimes of genocide” committed in 1994, during the Tutsi genocide in the country.
One of the two accused, former Rwandan military man and businessman Pierre Basabosé, 76, did not appear in court because he was hospitalized. He is accused of being one of the people who financed the Interahamwe – a paramilitary organization formed in 1994 by Hutu extremists – in Kigali, capital of Rwanda.
His lawyer, Jean Flamme, stated that Basabosé now suffers from dementia and should not participate in the trial, an argument that was rejected in court in June but on which the accused insists, having requested on Monday a new psychiatric evaluation of the former Rwandan official. Flamme represents Basabosé in court to allow the process to continue without him.
The other person to be charged on Monday is Séraphin Twahirwa, 65, a member of the former presidential family. Both Basabosé and Twahirwa reside in Belgium, and both have been accused of committing war crimes and genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
As the second largest shareholder of Radio-Television Libre des Mille Collines in 1993, a station known for its calls for ethnic hatred before and during the genocide, Basabosé is accused of spreading hate propaganda. He also allegedly distributed money and weapons to the Interahamwe and encouraged them to kill Tutsis.
Twahirwa is accused of having led an Interahamwe militia in Kigali, responsible for dozens of murders between April and July 1994. He is also accused of a dozen rapes committed against Tutsi women.
Both were arrested in Belgium in September 2020. If convicted, they face life in prison.
The hearing, the sixth of its kind to be held in Belgium, is expected to last at least two months.
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