KIGALI - A court in Ita-Uusimaa, Finland, yesterday handed a life sentence to Francois Bazaramba for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The Rwandan who had sought asylum in the country was found guilty of taking part in the killings committed in the Southern Province, where he served as a clergyman.
Bazaramba, 59, has been in detention since 2007 and during the course of his trial, the judges had to travel to Rwanda to both see the crime scene and also screen witnesses, a session that lasted for two weeks.
According to Nkusi, Bazaramba was convicted on two charges of ‘intent to destroy the Tutsi population in Maraba on April 15 1994, and his propaganda speech that called for the extermination of Tutsis.
“He organized and maintained night patrols and road blocks – forced the Tutsi to leave their homes and organized burning and destruction of their homes and property,” Prosecution Spokesperson, Augustin Nkusi, read from a copy of the court’s ruling.
“He participated in attacks against the Tutsi in Cyahinda church in Butare, and also organized and led attacks in the hillsides to destroy the Tutsi population.”
Further still, Bazaramba was convicted for having distributed belongings of the Tutsi and “ordered the killings” of a number of people.
In a related development, a court in Norway yesterday remanded Charles Bandora, another Genocide fugitive, for four weeks pending investigations into his case.
Bandora, a former businessman, was detained at a Norwegian airport on Tuesday, as he flew in from Belgium.
Nkusi welcomed the decision by the Norwegian authorities but emphasised that Rwanda’s ultimate wish is to have the suspect extradited for trial.
During the Genocide, Bandora was a wealthy businessman and influential local member of the then ruling MRND party, and is accused of financing killings, mainly in Bugesera District.