Sweden readies for first-ever genocide trial

Sweden readies for first-ever genocide trial
A Swede of Rwandan origin suspected of participating in the 1994 massacre of Tutsis in Rwanda will go on trial in Stockholm in November in Sweden's first genocide trial, the prosecutor said Tuesday.

Rwanda had asked Sweden to extradite the man, whose name was not disclosed, but Stockholm could not comply with the request because the man obtained Swedish citizenship in 2008, prosecutor Magnus Elving told news agency AFP.

“He was arrested at the end of 2011 and has been held in detention since then, and I think he should be charged in November,” Elving said, adding that the trial should run from November to May.

The man is suspected of “the most serious crimes”: genocide and crimes against international law, Elving said.

The man denies any wrongdoing, his lawyer Tomas Nilsson told Swedish news agency TT.

“It’s the first time someone faces trial for genocide” in Sweden, Elving said.

If convicted, he faces Sweden’s maximum sentence of life imprisonment, which means that after serving 10 years in prison he can ask a court to give him a set number of years behind bars.

Part of the trial would take place in Rwanda if Kigali authorizes the court to hear witnesses there, Elving said, adding that it would be the first time a Swedish trial would be held partly abroad.

“It’s easier to obtain information in Rwanda,” he told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR)

The man has been in Sweden since 2007, when he joined his family here and obtained a residency permit based on family reunification grounds.

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.

AFP/The Local

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