17 April 2019

Rwanda: Swedish Court to Make Final Ruling on Genocide Convict Rukeratabaro

Photo: Blogtreprenuer/Flickr
(file photo).

The Svea Court of Appeal in the Swedish capital Stockholm is expected to decide whether or not Genocide convict Theodore Rukeratabaro's life sentence should be upheld.

The ruling is set for April 29, according to sources from the Nordic country.

The Stockholm District Court had in June last year convicted him for genocide and gross human rights violation, crimes he committed during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, especially in parts of the current Rusizi District.

He appealed against the sentence and the trial started early in September last year.

Also known as Tabaro, he was handed a life sentence, which is the heaviest sentence that can be rendered under the Swedish penal system.

Rukeratabaro fled to Sweden in 1998 and obtained citizenship there in 2006.

Rwanda, through the National Public Prosecutions Authority (NPPA), sent his indictment to Sweden on September 12, 2014.

The convict has been living in Örebro, a Swedish city with 117,543 inhabitants.

He altered his name to 'Tabaro' to evade justice, it is said.

He was convicted for especially masterminding the massacre of Tutsi that took place between April and May, 1994, in the present-day Winteko Sector of the current Rusizi District.

Earlier, before the initial trial begun in a special Stockholm court in September 2017, Swedish judges had travelled to Rwanda to gather evidence.

During their stay in Rwanda, the Swedish court heard witnesses from Rwanda about the role of Rukeratabaro during the Genocide.

Rukeratabaro, who was a gendarme (equivalent to present-day police) was involved in perpetration of the Genocide in his native Sector, Winteko, Nyakanyinya and Mibirizi where hundreds of Tutsi had sought refuge, according to officials.

The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has earlier in June commended the Swedish judiciary after it handed a life sentence to Rukeratabaro given the role it said he played in the Genocide.

The Commission said that on April 9, 1994, in partnership with Modeste Karemera who was a judge, Jean Katabarwa who was a sector leader, Jean Nsengiyumva and several other members of Interahamwe militia in Winteko, together with other gendarmes led an attack that killed several Tutsi in Winteko after chasing them out of their hideouts in bush.

On April 13, 1994, it added, Rukeratabaro led an attack from Winteko which killed the Tutsi who had fled to Nyakanyinya primary school and raped and defiled women and girls.

"This attack comprised Interahamwe from the sectors of Mururu, Nyakanyinya and Winteko. They killed over 3,000 Tutsi using guns, grenades, machetes and clubs, according to CNLG.

Rukeratabaro, officials said, also led an attack from Winteko to massacre Tutsi who had sought refuge at Mibirizi parish of where several Tutsi were killed towards the end of April 1994.

He was also involved in killings of the Tutsi who fled to Rusizi Stadium (formerly referred to as Kamarampaka Stadium) where he came with lists and, in collaboration with soldiers of the genocidal government, took some of those Tutsi out of the stadium and killed them from a place called Gatandara.

On February 15, 2017, the Svea Court of Appeal in Stockholm, upheld the life sentence against Claver Berinkindi, a Rwandan who acquired Swedish citizenship in 2012, after finding him guilty of genocide crimes he committed in the former Prefecture of Butare.

The same court also found Stanisilas Mbanenande guilty of genocide crimes and handed him a life sentence in 2014.

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