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Norway court opens first Rwandan genocide trial

A Rwandan businessman pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; JURIST news archive] during Norway's first genocide trial. Sadi Bugingo is accused of taking a lead role in planning and leading attacks [Reuters report] against Tutsi civilians who sought refuge in a church and a hospital. The prosecution alleges that Bugingo was involved in killing about 2,000 members [AP report] of the Tutsi tribe. Norwegian prosecutors have collected statements from more than 100 witnesses as well as several survivors who are expected to testify during the trial. Bugingo was arrested in Bergen last year and faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison if convicted. The court is expected to render a verdict in early 2013.

In June the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) sentenced [JURIST report] the former captain at the Butare military academy, Ecole des Sous-Officiers, to life imprisonment for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for violence perpetrated in Butare prefecture. In May the ICTR sentenced [JURIST report] former Rwandan Minister of Youth and Sports Callixte Nzabonimana to life in prison after finding him guilty of charges related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Earlier in May, the Referral Chamber of the ICTR transferred [JURIST report] the case of Ladislas Ntaganzwa to the Rwandan national court system, making his the fourth Rwandan genocide case to be transferred to a national court. In April the court confirmed and proceeded with the transfer [JURIST report] of former Rwandan pastor Jean-Bosco Uwinkindi.

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