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Swedish court upholds life term for Rwanda-born man in 1994 genocide

A life sentence for a Rwandan-born man found guilty of genocide, murder and other crimes during the 1994 ethnic massacres in the central African country was upheld Wednesday by a Swedish appellate court.

The Svea Court of Appeal court upheld a 2016 lower court verdict that Claver Berinkindi, 61, who has Swedish citizenship, was guilty of participating in and leading attacks on Tutsi civilians in the southern prefecture of Butare between April and May 1994.

It was the Nordic country’s second case related to the 1994 killings in Rwanda, where an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during a 100-day period.Berinkindi, a Hutu, denied the charges.

Both the appellate court and the Stockholm District Court, which convicted him in 2016, visited crime scenes in Rwanda and heard testimony from about 50 people.

He was convicted of taking part in attacks on a municipal building in the municipality of Muyira and a nearby school, where hundreds were killed.

Berinkindi was convicted of recruiting assailants and handing out weapons used in an assault on several thousand people on Nyamure mountain, as well as killing families who had provided shelter for people fleeing the mass violence.

He was ordered to pay damages to 14 victims, worth between 2,400 and 12,180 dollars. One claim was rejected.His defence team argued that Rwandan authorities influenced testimony, and that witnesses could have mistaken him for a brother, who was complicit in the events and later killed.Sweden’s first genocide trial related to the Rwanda events resulted in the 2013 conviction of Rwanda-born Stanislas Mbanenande, also a Hutu, who was sentenced to life in prison.


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