Rwandan can be tried for genocide, court finds

The Supreme Court’s decision means a Rwandan man will be tried this September in Roskilde on charges of genocide

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April 27th, 2012 2:12 pm| by admin
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A Rwandan man residing in Denmark can be tried by the Danish courts for his alleged role in the Rwandan genocide, the Supreme Court found yesterday.

The 50-year-old man has been in police custody since his arrest at his home in Zealand in December 2010.

Both Roskilde City Court and the Eastern High Court have previously judged that prosecutors could not charge the man with genocide, but only with murder.

The state prosecutor, Birgitte Vestberg, expressed satisfaction with the Supreme Court’s judgement that the man could in fact be tried for genocide.

“It is very satisfying that the doubt that was previously raised has now finally been clarified,” she said. “It makes no difference in terms of the punishment whether someone is found guilty of killing many people or of genocide. But genocide is thought of globally as being a much worse crime.”

The Rwandan is being accused of having killed “many Tutsis” in April and May of 1994 at road blocks, and also of killing a large group of Tutsis at Kabuye Hill in April 1994.

The Tutsis had been told that they would find shelter at the hill but instead were attacked.

The Rwandan authorities have criticised Denmark’s handling of the case and have officially demanded the extradition of the former school inspector, who has denied all the charges.

The man will face the charges in Roskilde, however, when the trial gets underway in September. The man’s defence lawyer, Bjørn Elmquist does not know whether Rwanda will cooperate with the trial.

“The question is whether Rwanda will send the 50 or so witnesses to the trial,” Elmquist said.

Approximately 800,000 people died in about 100 days of fighting in the small central African country in 1994 as a result of tensions between the majority Hutu population and minority Tutsi populations.

(photo: Jimmy Katz)
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