Rwandan accused in first Norway genocide trial

Norway will try a 47-year-old Rwandan for his alleged role in the 1994 genocide in his home country, a court in Oslo announced on Thursday.

Sadi Bugingo, who is wanted by the Rwandan authorities, stands accused of having played a role in two massacres.

Bugingo, who arrived in Norway in 2002, was arrested in the western city of Bergen in May last year at the request of Rwanda and has been in detention since. He denies the accusations against him.

“It's the first time that we are prosecuting someone for genocide,” said prosecutor Petter Mandt. “From that point of view it is a very unusual affair.”

He wanted a public trial so that people would know that Norway was not a refuge for these kind of criminals, he said.

The trial will focus on Bugingo's alleged involvement in two massacres of people who were hiding from militia. Some of those killed were dragged from their hospital beds.

Mandt said the trial was due to open on September 25th and hearings expected to last three months. The verdict is expected in February or March.

If convicted, Bugingo faces up to 21 years in jail, the maximum term possible at the time of the alleged crime. But it can be prolonged indefinitely if the person convicted is considered to be still dangerous.

A 30-year prison sentence for genocide was introduced into the criminal code in 2005, but cannot be applied retroactively.

The 1994 genocide by Rwandan Hutus against the Tutsi minority and some Hutu moderates claimed 800,000 lives in 100 days, according to UN figures.

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Rwandan man guilty of genocide: Norway court

A Norwegian court has convicted a Rwandan man of involvement in the killings of 2,000 people during the 1994 genocide in the central African country.

Rwandan man guilty of genocide: Norway court
Prosecutor Marit Bakkevig Photo: HÃ¥kon Mosvold Larsen / Scanpix

The court of appeal in Oslo found Sadi Bugingo, 49, guilty of nineteen out of twenty charges. Sentencing will take place in January.

“This case shows that Norway has the ability and the will to punish the most serious international crimes,” said state prosecutor Marit Bakkevig.

“There is a risk that people who have committed genocide or other serious crimes, seek residency in another country to avoid justice. To prevent people avoiding punishment, we as a state that follows the rule of law want to show that we can investigate and prosecute these cases under Norwegian law,” Bakkevig said.

Oslo district court sentenced Bugingo to 21 years in jail. This was the first time a Norwegian court convicted anyone of genocide. The court ruled that Bugingo had a leading role in two massacres.

The 49-year-old has maintained his innocence throughout.