Montreal

Genocide admissions likely will shorten Rwandan war crimes trial in Montreal

Désiré Munyaneza's admission in court that war crimes were committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide is expected to speed up his court case in Montreal.

Désiré Munyaneza's admission in court that war crimes were committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide is expected to speed up his court case in Montreal.

Munyaneza is standing trial at Quebec Superior Court on charges he participated in war crimes and crimes against humanity in his alleged role in the genocide.

The Rwandan man and former Toronto resident is accused of being a Hutu militia leader who raped and murdered Tutsi refugees in the southern city of Butare during the 100-day bloodbath.

On Thursday Munyaneza acknowledged that crimes against humanity were committed during the ethnic conflict that left more than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead in the central African country.

The admission will likely shorten the prosecution phase of his trial.

Munyaneza, 40, also told the court Thursday that all statements he's made to authorities since he arrived in Canada a decade ago were legally obtained, including video statements recorded the day he was arrested in 2005.

Several witnesses have testified at his trial so far, including a contingent of genocide survivors who travelled from Rwanda to appear in court.

Retired general Roméo Dallaire, now a senator,also testified at the trial this week. The prosecution called him as an expert witness to establish the scope and context of the genocide.

Dallaire was in charge of a failed UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda in the months leading up to the massacre.

The son of a wealthy Hutu businessman, Munyaneza came to Canada in 1996 but was denied refugee status. He lived in Toronto with his family until he was arrested in October 2005 following a lengthy RCMP investigation.

He's the first person to be tried on war crimes under Canada's new Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act enacted in 2000.

With files from the Canadian Press

now