Swede gets life sentence for involvement in Rwanda genocide

A Swedish man has been sentenced by a Stockholm court for involvement in the genocide against the Tutsi minority in Rwanda in 1994.

Swede gets life sentence for involvement in Rwanda genocide
Press at a trial linked to Rwanda genocide in 2015. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

The 49-year-old man had a Rwandan background and according to prosecutors carried out a “leading role on a local level” in the killings.

He was charged with genocide through murder, attempted murder, aggravated rape and kidnapping of members of the Tutsi minority, with the aim to completely or partially destroy the group. He was sentenced for all of the above, with the exception of the rape charges which the court judged could not be proven.

READ ALSO: Rwanda genocide suspect to face trial in Stockholm

According to the prosecution, many of the victims were children.

The man, who denied all charges, received a life sentence and must also pay compensation of between 25,000 and 102,000 kronor to 16 Rwandans.

Many of the victims and witnesses were questioned in Rwanda, where Swedish authorities also visited the scenes of the alleged crimes, including a monastery where civilians took shelter during the violence and a school, where around 800 Tutsi people were sent. The 49-year-old is said to have thrown hand grenades in the building and set it on fire, as well as shooting, stabbing and beating people to death.

The man is now the third person to have been sentenced in Sweden for involvement in the Rwandan genocide, which took place between April and July 1994 and in which around 800,000 civilians died, according to UN figures.

In 2014 and 2016, Swedish courts convicted two other naturalized Rwandans and sentenced them to life in prison for their roles in the genocide.

Rwandans who took part in the genocide have also been sentenced in the United States, Canada, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France for their role in the killings.

READ ALSO: Swede, 61, jailed for life over Rwanda genocide


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Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.