Finnish court rejects Bazaramba’s plea for retrial

An Appeals court in Finland has rejected an application for the retrial of Genocide convict François Bazaramba.This comes after the Court in Ita-Uusimaa, in June last year, handed Bazaramba a life sentence for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. It found him guilty of taking part in the killings committed in the Southern Province, where he served as a cleric.

An Appeals court in Finland has rejected an application for the retrial of Genocide convict François Bazaramba.

This comes after the Court in Ita-Uusimaa, in June last year, handed Bazaramba a life sentence for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

It found him guilty of taking part in the killings committed in the Southern Province, where he served as a cleric.

Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper reported, yesterday, that in the verdict, the judges averred that there were no grounds for a retrial, and did not accept the argument that the presiding judge was unfit to hear the case.

“The pastor's defence counsel had demanded the case be returned to the lower court, with lawyer Ville Hoikkala claiming that there had been shortcomings in both the trial and the sentence, including a failure to take due account of evidence from defence witnesses,”

John Bosco Siboyintore, the acting head of the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU), followed the case closely and says Bazaramba’s defence counsel’s arguments were “mere allegations” which is why the court rejected them.

His trial saw a team of judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers travel to Rwanda to collect witness accounts about his role in the Genocide.

Bazaramba was convicted on two charges; intent to destroy the Tutsi population in Maraba , and spreading malicious propaganda calling for the extermination of the Tutsi.

He is said to have masterminded the killing of over 5,000 people in Nyakizu, Southern Province, organised and maintained night patrols and road blocks, forcing the Tutsi to leave their homes. He also organised the setting on fire and destruction of their homes and property.
Bazaramba sought asylum in Finland in 2003 and was arrested in 2007.

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