The first woman to be tried by the U.N.-backed court for Rwanda's 1994 genocide has denied discriminating between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis.

Rwanda's former women affairs minister, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, says she never had any animosity toward the the Tutsi minority targeted during the slaughter.

Prosecutors allege Ms. Nyiramasuhuko used her position to encourage Hutu militia to rape and kill Tutsi women in the southern province of Butare.

She is one of six people from Butare charged with leading the genocide in the region. All have pleaded innocent to the charges.

During Rwanda's 1994 genocide, Hutu militia killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and their Hutu sympathizers.

The U.N.-backed International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was set up to try the alleged masterminds of the slaughter.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.