ARUSHA, Tanzania: A suspect accused of forming secret death squads and orchestrating the killings of thousands during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide has pleaded not guilty to war crimes.Idelphonse Nizeyimana, former deputy intelligence chief of Rwanda, entered his plea at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda after being captured in Uganda earlier this month.”I am not guilty,” Mr Nizeyimana, 46, said each time the four counts of war crimes charges were read out to him. A trial date will be set later.Mr Nizeyimana is accused of ordering the killing of children, hospital patients, priests and a revered African queen.More than 500,000 members of the Tutsi minority and moderates from the Hutu majority were slaughtered during the 100-day Rwandan genocide in 1994.Until his capture, Mr Nizeyimana had been on the run, with a $US5 million bounty on his head. He was believed to have hidden in the jungles of eastern Congo, where he belonged to a Rwandan Hutu militia called the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, which continues to commit atrocities.In recent weeks, he had sent emissaries to a UN base in Kimua, Congo, to negotiate turning himself in. The discussions collapsed when Mr Nizeyimana suggested the reward be given to his family if he surrendered.During the genocide, Mr Nizeyimana was alleged to have formed secret units of soldiers that executed leading Tutsis, including Queen Rosalie Gicanda, who was in her 80s, according to his indictment.The Rwandan monarchy had ended decades before the genocide but the queen remained a revered and symbolic figure for Tutsis. Soldiers hauled her and others from her house in Butare and shot them behind the National Museum.Mr Nizeyimana is the second high-profile genocide suspect to be arrested in two months. A former mayor, Gregoire Ndahimana, appeared at the tribunal in Tanzania in September.The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda has delivered judgments on 39 people, including six acquittals.The genocide was sparked when a plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana was shot down as it approached Kigali in April 1994. The slaughter ended when Paul Kagame led a group of Tutsi rebels to overthrow the Hutu government. Mr Kagame is now Rwanda’s president.Associated Press
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