A Swedish court has jailed Stanislas Mbanenande for life for his role in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Mbanenande, who is of Rwandan origin but now a Swedish citizen, was convicted of partaking in a number of massacres involving mainly ethnic Tutsis during the African country’s 100-day genocide in which around 800,000 people were slaughtered.
The court in Stockholm concluded that he was a key figure among Hutu extremists.
Mbanenande becomes the first person Sweden has ever convicted of genocide. Before the atrocities, he was a lecturer and civil engineer in Rwanda. He later moved to Sweden and was granted citizenship in 2008. During the trial, Swedish judges travelled to the central African nation to hear from witnesses while Mbanenande, who denied all charges, participated via video link.
He was guilty of recruiting young males to participate in the killings as well as being involved in the slaughter of people at a Catholic church, a school, a stadium and a school in the western city of Kibuye, ruled the district court. The court said in its verdict that the accused man had an informal leadership role and also fired into the crowd using an automatic weapon.
Rwanda has appealed to Sweden to extradite Mbanenande so he can face genocide charges in his homeland, but Sweden has rejected the plea as he is now a Swedish citizen.