The trial of Philippe Hategekimana, naturalized French in 2005 under the name of Philippe Manier, opened Wednesday in Paris for "genocide, crimes against humanity and participation in an agreement" for the preparation of these crimes.
"My name is Philippe Manie r," said the accused in a clear voice when the president of the assize court, Jean-Marc Lavergne, asked him to state his identity.
Philippe Manier, 66, bald and wearing tortoiseshell glasses, dressed in a suede jacket over a checkered shirt, was a chief warrant officer at the gendarmerie in Nyanza, in the prefecture of Butare, in southern Rwanda.
He is suspected of the murders of dozens of Tutsi, including the burgomaster of Ntyazo, Narcisse Nyagasaka, who was resisting the execution of the genocide in his commune.
The indictment also links his action to the deaths of "Maman Augustine", a nun, Father Mathieu and three hundred Tutsi refugees on the hill of Nyamugari. Facts perpetrated between April and July 1994.
According to the prosecution, Philippe Manier, who disputes the facts, is also suspected of having ordered the erection of roadblocks "intended to control and assassinate Tutsi civilians".
Philippe Hategekimana would have, according to the complainants, "played an important role in the perpetration of the genocide of the Tutsi". He allegedly "used the powers and military force conferred on him by his rank in order to commit and participate as an actor, co-perpetrator and accomplice in the genocide", in particular by participating "actively" in "the organization of the exterminations in Nyanza and in the surrounding villages.
Forty civil parties, including the Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR) , the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) and survivors or relatives of victims, have joined forces in this case.
The trial is scheduled until June 30. This is the fourth in France in connection with the "crime of crimes" committed in Rwanda in the spring of 1994.
Philippe Manier faces life imprisonment.