A 60-year-old Swedish citizen in Stockholm on Friday was charged with genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The man was not identified, but Swedish prosecutors said he was born in Rwanda and had a lower-level leadership role in the mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority. The man was living in central Sweden, and his trial will begin Sept. 16 in the Stockholm District Court.
"Just as during the first Rwanda trial, we are making clear that Sweden will not be a safe haven for those suspected of being war criminals and perpetrators of genocide," Tora Holst, chief prosecutor at the International Public Prosecution Office in Stockholm, said in a statement Friday.
This is not the first time Sweden has charged a Rwanda genocide suspect. A Swedish citizen originally from Rwanda was sentenced to life in prison in 2013 by a Stockholm court after he was convicted for his role in one of the worst mass killings in the post-World War II era. The man, Stanislas Mbanenande, was an ethnic Hutu and the first person in Sweden to be convicted of the crime, according to CNN.
Many Rwandans who fled their country during and after the 1994 genocide sought asylum in the Nordic country and elsewhere around the world. Among those claiming to be refugees were individuals suspected of having participated in the mass slaughter of ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu tribes. Some 800,000 people, mainly Tutsi, were killed before Rwanda’s Hutu-dominated government fell to the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, now led by President Paul Kagame.
Decades later, dozens of perpetrators of the 100-day genocide, including former senior government officials, have been convicted. But thousands were involved in the killings and have not yet been brought to justice, the Guardian reported.
Among those convicted was Jean Kambanda, who was Rwanda’s prime minister at the start of the genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda sentenced Kambanda to life imprisonment in 1998 for genocide and crimes against humanity. French prosecutors in 2014 jailed former Rwandan spy chief Pascal Simbikangwa for 25 years for complicity in genocide and in crimes against humanity. Simbikangwa plans to appeal the verdict.