Danish court okays trial of Genocide suspect
A Rwandan man residing in Denmark can be tried by the Danish courts for his alleged role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the Supreme Court announced yesterday.
The 50-year-old man, whose names remain anonymous, has been in the custody of Danish police since his arrest at his home in the Zealand region of Denmark in December 2010.
The Head of Genocide Fugitive Tracking Unit, John Bosco Siboyintore told The New Times yesterday that “there is an agreement with the Danish authorities not to release the suspect’s name.”
Both Roskilde City Court and the Eastern High Court have previously judged that prosecutors could not charge the man with genocide, but only with murder.
The state prosecutor, Birgitte Vestberg, expressed satisfaction with the Supreme Court’s judgment that the suspect could in fact be tried for genocide.
“It is very satisfying that the doubt that was previously raised has now finally been clarified,” she said.
“It makes no difference in terms of the punishment whether someone is found guilty of killing many people or of genocide. But genocide is thought of globally as being a much worse crime.”
The Rwandan is accused of killing “many Tutsis” in April and May of 1994 at road blocks, and another large group of Tutsis at Kabuye Hill in April 1994.
The Tutsis had been told that they would find shelter at the hill but were instead attacked.
Meanwhile, Rwandan authorities have criticised Denmark’s handling of the case and have officially demanded the extradition of the former school inspector, who has denied all the charges.
The man will, however, face the charges in Roskildewhen the trial gets underway in September. His lawyer, Bjørn Elmquist, does not know whether Rwanda will cooperate in the trial.
“The question is whether Rwanda will send the 50 or so witnesses to the trial,” Elmquist said.
Siboyintore was, however, noncommittal on whether the country would be able to send the witnesses.
“At this moment, we are more interested in having this man extradited to Rwanda than us sending witnesses there. Denmark should first reply to us about the extradition request before asking for witnesses,” he said.