A Swedish citizen who is Rwandan-born man has been charged with
genocide and other crimes during the 1994 ethnic massacres in the
central African country went on trial in Sweden on Wednesday.
The trial of Swedish national Claver Berinkindi is the Nordic
country’s second case related to the 1994 killings in Rwanda, where an
estimated 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over a 100-day
The 60-year-old is accused of participating in and leading attacks on
Tutsi civilians in southern Rwanda’s Butare beween April and May that
Berinkindi, a Hutu, has denied the charges, including genocide through
murder, incitement to murder, attempted murder and abduction.
His defence team said witnesses could have mistaken him for a brother,
who was complicit in the events and later killed.
Berinkindi was known for his ties with Hutu extremists and had issued
threats against the Tutsi minority, according to prosecutors.
Nonetheless, in order for a just trial to take place those European
governments and United Nations officials who were present in Rwanda
during the outbreak and duration of the 100-day war of genocide should
be summoned to court by the defense. There have been allegations of
French support and arming of the Hutu extremists leading up to the
massacres, a charge Paris denies.
Relations between Kigali and Paris have been strained for years. The
United States administration under Bill Clinton refused to label the
systematic killings as genocide for political reasons.
These European states knew first hand the dangers present in the
Rwandan situation during the early 1990s. They were present when the
plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were shot down and
the prime minister of Rwanda was assassinated.
The Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) government was backed by the United
States and Uganda, a staunch ally of Washington. Rwandan RPF leader
and now President Paul Kgame was trained by military academies in the
U.S. along with his tenure in the Ugandan defense forces.
All of these variables must be taken into consideration
By : Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, told TVC anchors