Sweden sentences man to life imprisonment for genocide in Rwanda

Reuters , Monday 16 May 2016

A Swedish court sentenced on Monday a 61-year-old man to life in prison for genocide in Rwanda in 1994, the second such case brought by the Nordic country over crimes during the conflict.

The Stockholm District Court said Claver Berinkindi, a Swedish citizen originally from Rwanda, was convicted of 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 people for crimes committed abroad.

The court said fifteen crime victims had been awarded damages ranging from 3 million Rwandan francs ($3,781) to 10 million francs ($12,602). It was the first time a Swedish court had awarded damages to victims of genocide.

Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly of the Tutsi people, were killed over three months in 1994 after years of civil war. The massacres raised questions about the ability or will of international organisations or states to intervene to halt mass killings of civilians.

Berinkindi was charged in Sweden in September 2015.

The district court ruling can be appealed.

In 2013, a Swedish court sentenced another man to life in prison for genocide in Rwanda in 1994. It was the first time a person in Sweden had been convicted of genocide.

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