Sweden court sentences man to life in prison for role in Rwanda genocide News
Sweden court sentences man to life in prison for role in Rwanda genocide

A Swedish court sentenced [press release] a man to life in prison on Monday for taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide [BBC backgrounder]. The Stockholm District Court [official website, in Swedish] determined that Claver Berinkindi was guilty of genocide and gross crime under international law consisting of murder, kidnapping and attempted murder. More than 800,000 people were killed by Hutus over three months in 1994. Berinkindi was charged [Reuters report] in Sweden last year after a Rwandan Gacaca community court convicted him of genocide-related crimes in absentia. This trial is part of a global effort to try those who have committed crimes against humanity no matter where those crimes occurred. Berinkindi was a Rwandan who obtained Swedish citizenship in 2012. He was found [NYT report] to have participated in five different massacres in 1994. He was found not only to have rallied people to participate in various killings but also to have killed countless people himself. The court also awarded 15 people damages who had witnessed the loss of a relative at the hands of Berinkindi, ranging from $3,900 to $13,000 and to be taken from Berinkindi’s property. Berinkindi has three weeks to appeal the decision.

Earlier this month two Rwandan mayors went on trial [JURIST report] in France on charges of war crimes ad crimes against humanity committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. In January the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website] formally closed [JURIST report] after issuing 45 judgments. In September a court in Toulouse, France, refused extradition requests [JURIST report] for Joseph Habyarimana, a Rwandan man, facing charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. In January of last year two Rwandan police officers were sentenced [JURIST report] to 20 years in jail for the murder of a Transparency International anti-corruption activist. In July 2014 the ICTR unanimously affirmed [JURIST report] a 30-year jail sentence for former army chief Augustin Bizimungu for the role he played in the genocide. In December 2012 the ICTR convicted [JURIST report] former Rwandan minister Augustin Ngirabatware, sentencing him to 35 years in prison on charges of genocide, incitement to commit genocide and rape as a crime against humanity.