Rwanda genocide trial opens in Sweden

2015-09-16 17:32
File, AFP

File, AFP

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Stockholm (dpa) - A Rwandan-born man charged with genocide and other crimes during the 1994 ethnic massacres in the central African country went on trial in Sweden on Wednesday.

The trial of Swedish national Claver Berinkindi is the Nordic country's second case related to the 1994 killings in Rwanda, where an estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over a 100-day period.

The 60-year-old is accused of participating in and leading attacks on Tutsi civilians in southern Rwanda's Butare beween April and May that year.

Berinkindi, a Hutu, has denied the charges, including genocide through murder, incitement to murder, attempted murder and abduction.

His defence team said witnesses could have mistaken him for a brother, who was complicit in the events and later killed.

Berinkindi was known for his ties with Hutu extremists and had issued threats against the Tutsi minority, according to prosecutors.

Legal proceedings

According to the prosecution, he was one of the leaders in attacks on a municipal building in the municipality of Muyira and a nearby school that killed hundreds.

Some of the victims were buried alive, while others were killed with guns, spears, clubs and machetes, the charge sheet read.

The document also mentioned an assault on several thousand people on the Nyamure mountain where Berinkindi was one of the local leaders, as well as killings of families who had sheltered those fleeing the mass violence.

Berinkindi has been in custody for a year. He has been convicted in Rwanda in absentia, but the trial is being held at the Stockholm district court due to his Swedish citizenship.

The legal proceedings are expected to run until March. Some of the hearings are also to be held in Rwanda.

Evidence in the trial includes witness testimony, telephone recordings in which Berinkindi described Tutsis as "cockroaches" and computer searches he made of a Rwanda genocide trial held in neighbouring Norway.

Sweden's first genocide trial related to the Rwanda events resulted in the 2013 conviction of another Rwanda-born man.

Read more on:    rwanda  |  east africa  |  1994 rwandan genocide

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