Life Imprisonment For 1994 Rwanda Genocide

A Swedish man originally from Rwanda has been convicted and sentenced to live in prison for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide by a Swedish court.

Life Imprisonment For 1994 Rwanda Genocide

Sweden; Stockholm District Court has convicted and sentenced Claver Berinkindi to live imprisonment crimes related to the 1994 genocide and gross crime under international law consisting of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping in Rwanda.

"This relates to participation in a large number of massacres during the 1994 genocide where the defendant had an informal role as a leader," the court said in a statement. Under Swedish law, courts can try Swedish citizens and other nationals for crimes committed abroad.

According to the Stockholm court verdict, Berinkindi, who arrived in Sweden in 2002 and became a Swedish citizen in 2012, was convicted in absentia of genocide-related crimes by a Rwandan Gacaca Community Court in 2007. He was charged in Sweden in September 2015, however a district court ruling can be appealed.

From April to July 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority. Begun by extreme Hutu nationalists in the capital of Kigali, the genocide spread throughout the country with staggering speed and brutality, as ordinary citizens were incited by local officials and the Hutu Power government to take up arms against their neighbors. By the time the Tutsi-led Rwandese Patriotic Front gained control of the country through a military offensive in early July, hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were dead and many more displaced from their homes

The 1994 massacres has of late, seen several arrests being made with the latest report being the arrest of General Leopold Mujyambere, the Chief of Staff of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), earlier this week in the eastern city of Goma during a routine police stop, Congo Government Spokesman Lambert Mende said.

This was the second case relating to the Rwandan genocide to be prosecuted in Sweden. In 2013, Ms. Holst prosecuted Stanislas Mbanednande, also a naturalized Swedish citizen. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for taking part in a series of killings in Kibuye, a city in western Rwanda.

Mr. Berinkindi pleaded not guilty, saying that he had not been at the scene of the crimes. He has three weeks to appeal.