Arusha, October 26, 2010 (FH) - Genocide-convict Michel Bagaragaza, who was sentenced to eight years in jail a year ago by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), for the role he played in the 1994 Tutsi genocide, has been secretly transferred from Arusha to Sweden.

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"The Registrar took care of his transfer on July 19, 2010, following a confidential decision taken on June 28, by ICTR President, designating Sweden as the State where the convict should execute the remainder of his sentence, "ICTR spokesman Roland Amoussouga revealed to Hirondelle News agency on Tuesday.

He added, "Michel Bagaragaza was transferred to a prison located hundreds kilometers from Stockholm", the Swedish capital.

The ICTR gave Bagaragaza, former head of the Rwandan Tea Authority, the custodial sentence on November 5, 2009, after pleading guilty for his role in the 1994 genocide.

He is the first ICTR convict to be sent to Sweden, a country which has signed with the UN an Agreement on the enforcement of sentences. Before his transfer, the convict was held in Arusha in an isolated area from other inmates.   

Bagaragaza had special reasons to fear for his security. He had testified against several prominent personalities of the previous regime who were charged by the ICTR, notably Protais Zigiranyirazo.

However, his testimony as a "key witness" of the prosecution in Zigiranyirazo's case did not, at the end, convince the judges. Habyarimana's brother-in-law was acquitted on appeal in November 2009.


© Hirondelle News Agency