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The world prosecutes Rwanda's genocide

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority, were killed, according to UN figures, has led to a series of precedent-setting legal proceedings around the world.

On Thursday in Sweden, a Swede of Rwandan origin was sentenced to life in prison for the war crime, becoming the first person in the country to be found guilty of genocide.

Some precedents:

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA

The UN-backed ICTR, which sits in Tanzania's northern city of Arusha, is tasked with bringing to justice those responsible for the genocide.

It has sentenced numerous suspects to up to life in prison and a dozen suspects have been acquitted.

It has wound up its non-appeal cases and still has to rule on around 15 appeal cases before closing down in late 2014.

RWANDA

Since the start of trials of genocide suspects in 1996, Rwanda has carried out the death penalty once, executing 22 people convicted of genocide in 1998. It abolished the death penalty in 2007, lifting the main obstacle to transferring for trial in Rwanda those accused by the ICTR.

In 2012 Rwanda closed its Gacaca grassroots courts, set up in 2001, that have judged the bulk of the people suspected of taking part in the genocide.

These courts have put nearly two million people on trial, convicting 65 percent of them, according to official statistics.

BELGIUM

In 2001, four Rwandans, including two nuns, were convicted by a Brussels court in a trial which was held under a unique 1993 law that allows courts in Belgium -- the former colonial power in Rwanda -- to try Belgian residents, whatever their nationality, for crimes allegedly committed abroad.

In 2005, a Brussels court sentenced two Rwandan businessmen to 10-12 years in prison after they were found guilty of war crimes and murder linked to the genocide.

Then, in 2007, a former Rwandan army commander, ex-major, Bernard Ntuyahaga, was also convicted.

In 2009 a Brussels court sentenced Rwandan Ephrem Nkezabera, dubbed the 'genocide banker', to 30 years in prison for war crimes including murders and rapes during the bloodbath.

NETHERLANDS

In March 2013, a court in the Netherlands jailed Dutch-Rwandan Yvonne Basebya for inciting genocide, the first such conviction ever of a Dutch national.

Dutch courts can try Netherlands citizens for genocide, or foreign suspects if the genocide was committed after October 1970, following a law to broaden prosecution possibilities for the most serious of all crimes.

A Dutch appeals court in July 2011 sentenced Rwandan citizen Joseph Mpambara to life in prison for war crimes committed in Rwanda in 1994.

FINLAND

In June 2010, a Finnish court in its first ever genocide trial found a Rwandan man guilty of taking part in the Rwandan genocide and handed him a sentence of life in prison. 59-year-old Baptist pastor Francois Bazaramba moved to Finland in 2003 and had sought asylum in the Nordic country. He was arrested in April 2007.

NORWAY

In February, 2013, an Oslo court sentenced Sadi Bugingo to 21 years in prison for his role in the massacres of more than 1,000 Tutsis in three "beastly" attacks during the genocide.

CANADA

In 2009, a Rwandan militia leader, Desire Munyaneza, found guilty of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Canada's first war crimes trial for his role in the genocide, was sentenced to life in prison.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130621/the-world-prosecutes-rwandas-genocide