The umbrella body of Genocide survivors associations, Ibuka, has made an appeal to countries holding genocide suspects to emulate the Finnish government’s speedy decision to act on Francois Bazaramba’s case.
The call follows the arrival in the country of a delegation of Finnish judges, lawyers and prosecutors, as part of the ongoing trial that started on September 2.
The jurists traveled here to collect testimonies from dozens of witnesses in the case implicating Bazaramba, a former priest, in the killings that took place in Nyakizu, in the Southern Province.
According to the Executive Secretary of Ibuka, Benoit Kaboyi, the quick steps Finland is taking in bringing Bazaramba to justice was a welcome gesture from the survivors.
“Bringing to book those who committed the genocide should not be the responsibility for Rwandans alone, it’s a collective effort because this was a crime against the entire humanity,” Kaboyi said.
The judges arrived in Kigali over the weekend and are expected to spend at least one month interviewing the witnesses.
They are also expected to visit the place where the killings took place.
Finland’s detention of Bazaramba is based on a legal doctrine known as the “universality principle.” Proponents of the universality principle claim some criminal acts, such as genocide, are so heinous, the crimes are committed against all humanity.
“To Ibuka, this is a great stride towards justice. We are hoping that all the countries holding genocide suspects will follow the Finnish government example,” he said.
At the time of the genocide, Bazaramba was a Baptist Church pastor in the community of Nyakizu, in the Southern Province.
He is believed to have planned and carried out the massacre of more than 5,000 people who were trying to escape from the atrocities.
Bazaramba arrived in Finland in 2003, where he sought asylum. In April 2007, he was detained on orders of the District Court of Porvoo, which is the same court that is trying him.
If convicted, Bazaramba faces life imprisonment.