A Swedish court has sentenced a man of Rwandan origin to life in jail for his part in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on TVC Report Discussing the Rwandan Genocide Trial in Sweden
US, French and other European states’ role in Rwandan genocide questioned
A Swedish citizen who is Rwandan-born man has been charged with genocide and other crimes during the 1994 ethnic massacres in the central African country went on trial in Sweden on Wednesday.
The trial of Swedish national Claver Berinkindi is the Nordic country’s second case related to the 1994 killings in Rwanda, where an estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over a 100-day period.
The 60-year-old is accused of participating in and leading attacks on Tutsi civilians in southern Rwanda’s Butare beween April and May that year.
Berinkindi, a Hutu, has denied the charges, including genocide through murder, incitement to murder, attempted murder and abduction.
His defence team said witnesses could have mistaken him for a brother, who was complicit in the events and later killed.
Berinkindi was known for his ties with Hutu extremists and had issued threats against the Tutsi minority, according to prosecutors.
Nonetheless, in order for a just trial to take place those European governments and United Nations officials who were present in Rwanda during the outbreak and duration of the 100-day war of genocide should be summoned to court by the defense. There have been allegations of French support and arming of the Hutu extremists leading up to the massacres, a charge Paris denies.
Relations between Kigali and Paris have been strained for years. The United States administration under Bill Clinton refused to label the systematic killings as genocide for political reasons.
These European states knew first hand the dangers present in the Rwandan situation during the early 1990s. They were present when the plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were shot down and the prime minister of Rwanda was assassinated.
The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) government was backed by the United States and Uganda, a staunch ally of Washington. Rwandan RPF leader and now President Paul Kgame was trained by military academies in the U.S. along with his tenure in the Ugandan defense forces.
All of these variables must be taken into consideration Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, told TVC anchors.