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UN: Former Rwandan Government Minister Pleads Not Guilty to Genocide Charges

A former Rwandan government minister has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges related to his alleged role in the country's 1994 genocide.

A United Nations statement Thursday said Callixte Nzabonimana entered the plea Wednesday during his first appearance before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Nzabonimana was arrested Monday in Kigoma, Tanzania and transferred to the court, which in based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha.

The charges against him include genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, and violations of the Geneva Conventions.

The U.N. tribunal says Nzabonimana allegedly conspired to work out a plan to exterminate Rwanda's civilian Tutsi population and eliminate members of the opposition.

Nzabonimana served as a minister of youth and sports in Rwanda's interim government in 1994. He was indicted in November 2001.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was established to try those principally responsible for the deaths of about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 Rwandan killing spree.