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Prosecutor v. François Bazaramba

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court Porvoo District Court (now District Court of Itä-Uusimaa), Finland
Case number R 09/404
Decision title Judgment
Decision date 11 June 2010
  • Prosecutor
  • François Bazaramba
Categories Genocide, Incitement to genocide
Keywords genocide, Incitement to genocide, Nyakizu, Rwanda
Other countries involved
  • Rwanda
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Procedural history

Bazaramba has been in custody in Finland since 2007 after seeking asylum there in 2003. In February 2009 the Finnish Ministry of Justice refused to extradite Bazaramba to Rwanda to face prosecution, citing ICTR as well as German and French decisions relating to the accused’s right to a fair trial. According to the Ministry, it had “neither any reason to question the conclusions of the ICTR nor any grounds to assess the prevailing circumstances in Rwanda any differently to the ICTR”. See press release in English, Finnish and Swedish.

Bazaramba was eventually charged with genocide and 15 counts of murder on 1 June 2009 under Finland’s universal jurisdiction laws. See indictment (in French).

Bazaramba’s trial began in September 2009.

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Legally relevant facts

François Bazaramba is a former Rwandan pastor allegedly responsible for organising the killing of civilians in the town of Nyakizu during the Rwandan Genocide. The case is the first genocide case to be prosecuted in Finland.

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Court's holding and analysis

On 11 June 2010, the District Court of Porvoo found Bazaramba guilty of genocide as well as the murder of at least five persons. Bazaramba was acquitted of the other 10 counts of murder. In delivering the judgement the Court said that Bazaramba had, inter alia, incited Hutus to kill Tutsi civilians, organised road blocks and led attacks against Tutsis around Mount Nyakizu. The Court sentenced Bazaramba to life imprisonment.

Lawyers for Bazaramba indicted that they will appeal the judgment. During the trial the Defence claimed that certain prosecution witnesses had been forced while in Rwanda into giving testimony against Bazaramba. In respect of two witnesses, the Court found that their testimonies should be excluded since evidence suggested that they had been obtained through torture or other comparable procedures as defined under the UN Convention against Torture.

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Instruments cited

Finnish Penal Code (Unofficial English Translation)

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Additional materials

-Press Release (in Finnish)

-Press Release (in English)

-Press Release (in French)

-Press Release (in Swedish)