14 February 2013

Rwanda: Norway Hands Maximum Sentence to Sadi Bugingo

A Norwegian court yesterday sentenced Sadi Bugingo to 21 years in prison for his role in the massacres of more than 1,000 Tutsis in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide.

The sentence is the maximum that he could get from a Norwegian court.

Bugingo, a Rwandan was standing trial in the Norwegian capital, Oslo where he was accused of being responsible for the death of 2000 Tutsis in the former Kibungo province.

The 47-year-old was charged with supervising killings and coordinating attacks by Interahamwe militia that targeted Tutsis. More than 1 million Rwandans were killed in the 100-day Genocide.

The 19-week trial was the first Genocide case in a Norwegian court.

Rwanda's Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga welcomed the verdict yesterday but warned that the task ahead shouldn't be overlooked.

"That was the best prosecution would achieve under the circumstances. We commend the efforts by our counterparts there for a job well done so far. Nevertheless the task ahead in this case and others as well should not be overlooked," said Ngoga.

Following his sentence, Bugingo immediately filed an appeal. No date is set for the appeal hearing yet.

The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide, Jean de Dieu Mucyo also commended the Norwegian court for the sentence handed to Bugingo.

"Considering that 21 years is the maximum sentence, we highly commend the good work done by the Norwegian court. They have accorded us justice but we would wish to request all other European countries especially France to emulate this and request that those charged should be sent to Rwanda to serve their sentence here," said Mucyo.

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

Close to 100 people testified in this case and most of the prosecution witnesses said that Bugingo was responsible for the killings at the Economat Général of Kibungo Diocese, at Kibungo Baptist Church and at Kibungo Hospital.

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