Two former Rwandan mayors are appearing in a French court for allegedly inciting and taking a leading part in mass killing of ethnic Tutsis during the first days of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Tite Barahirwa, 64, and Octavien Ngenzi, 58, are both accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. They face trial Tuesday over the massacre of some 2,000 Tutsis who had sought refuge in a church in the eastern town of Kabarondo.

The men, who deny any involvement in the murders, face up to life in prison if convicted.

More than 100 victims, relatives and witnesses, some of whom traveled from Rwanda, are expected to testify during the eight-week Paris trial. Unusually, it is being recorded for historical purposes.

France won special U.N. permission to prosecute Rwandan genocide-related crimes.