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Rwandan jailed in Norway genocide trial

A 47-year-old Rwandan was on Thursday jailed for 21 years by an Oslo court for being complicit in the massacres of more than 2,000 people in his home country in 1994.

Sadi Bugingo, a 47-year-old Hutu who has lived in Norway since 2001, was found guilty of being an accessory to genocide for ensuring that orders issued for the killings were carried out.

He did not face any charges of having carried out any killings himself.

The 21-year-sentence demanded by prosecutors is the maximum available in Norway.

The case centred on several events 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 murders were meticulously planned and the accused undoubtedly acted with premeditation," the three Oslo district court judges said in the ruling.

"He made sure the massacre of (Tutsi) refugees was carried out in line with plans," they said, citing numerous witness testimonies.

The court also cited aggravating circumstances, since the attacks were part of a genocide and carried out in "beastly fashion" with machetes, bats and clubs, and dead bodies were in some cases desecrated.

It also noted that the "wealthy businessman" profited from the genocide, stealing a power generator from the church among other things.

Bugingo, who had worked as a cleaner in Norway until his arrest in 2011, had pleaded not guilty when the trial opened last September.

His lawyer had called for his client's acquittal, and Bugingo immediately appealed the verdict.

Bugingo has insisted he was not present during the massacres, and claimed the witness testimonies were lies. He himself is married to a Tutsi, and told the court that he saved many Tutsis' lives during the genocide.

The court noted though that "it was not uncommon for those who participated in the genocide to also have family ties and friendships with Tutsis, and that they took advantage of their position during the genocide to protect them."

The trial was the first for genocide in the Scandinavian country.

The April 6, 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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