Ex-Rwandan Officer: I Was a Bystander in Killings

In the second day of what is expected to be a several-month trial over the murders 13 years ago of 10 Belgian peacekeeping troops in Rwanda, along with the country’s then-prime minister, a former Rwandan army major, Bernard Ntuyahaga, denied involvement and insisted he was an innocent bystander.

“I was at the bad place at the bad moment,” he told the Brussels Court of Assizes, in Belgium, Reuters reports.

The April 7, 1994 killings of the Belgian troopers, who were serving as United Nations peacekeepers, were part of a reported genocide campaign by the Hutu-led government and ethnic militias that began a day earlier when the plane carrying Rwanda’s then-prime minister was shot down. Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus eventually were killed.

Genocide and war crimes charges against Ntuyahaga were dropped by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1999.

For more background information, see this earlier Reuters article.

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