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RWANDA

Rwandan pleads not guilty in genocide case

A 47-year-old Rwandan pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in an Oslo court to charges of being complicit in the massacres of more than 2,000 people in his home country, as Norway's first genocide case opened.

Rwandan pleads not guilty in genocide case
Defence lawyer Harald Stabell in court on Tuesday. His client has exercised his legal right not to be photographed in the courtroom (Photo: Erlend Aas/NTB Scanpix).

Sadi Bugingo, who is wanted by the Rwandan authorities, stands accused of attending meetings during which the murders were planned, participating in the organizing of the massacre, and helping the killers with their transportation.

Bugingo, who does not face any charges of having carried out any killings, arrived in 2002 in Norway, where he worked as a cleaner until his arrest last year.

"He doesn't recognize any of the charges contained in the indictment," his lawyer Harald Stabell told news channel TV2 Nyhetskanalen before the start of the hearing.

"He maintains he was not present at the sites where the murders took place," he added.

The indictment covers several events that saw more than 2,000 people killed in April 1994: a massacre in a municipal building, another within the grounds of a Catholic church, and on several different occasions, the killing of people who had sought refuge in a hospital.

The trial, in which more than 100 witnesses will take the stand or address the court through videoconferencing, is expected to take around three months.

Genocide carries a maximum penalty of 21 years in jail under Norwegian law, a sentence that could be extended indefinitely if the convict is considered a danger to society.

The April 6th 1994 killing of Rwanda's Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana triggered a genocide in which 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority, were killed, according to UN figures.

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HUMAN RIGHTS

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.

 

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