Belgian Trial for Nuns Begin

BRUSSELS, Apr. 17, 01 ( - The genocide trial of four Rwandans, including two nuns, on charges of taking part in the massacre of 5,000 people in 1994 in Rwanda began on Tuesday in Brussels.

The two Benedictine nuns, Sister Gertrude and Sister Maria Kisito, are charged with premeditated murder and crimes against humanity during the slaughter by Hutu extremists of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus seven years ago. They are alleged to have helped Hutu soldiers and militiamen slaughter 5,000 people who had sought refuge at their convent outside Butare, a southern city in the former Belgian colony.

The other two defendants, university professor Vincent Ntezimana and businessman Alphonse Higaniro, are charged with collaborating with the Hutu extremists in their hunt for Tutsis.

Rwandan Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo said he welcomed the trial but had some misgivings. "The jury will be made up of Belgian citizens without enough background information about the root causes of the genocide, its planning, and its execution," he said.

The suspects are the first to be charged under a relatively new Belgian law that allows individuals, including non-Belgians, to be tried in Belgium for war crimes committed elsewhere.

CWN - Catholic World News
17. april 2001

av Webmaster publisert 18.04.2001, sist endret 18.04.2001 - 12:28