14.09.11 - RWANDA/FINLAND - FINNISH COURT IN KIGALI FOR APPEALS TRIAL OF A RWANDAN PASTOR

Kigali, September 14, 2011 (FH) - A Finnish court has been sitting in Kigali since Monday for the appeals trial of François Bazaramba, a 60 year-old Rwandan pastor sentenced to life in jail by the lower court of Itä-Uusimaa in June 2010.
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The traveling tribunal comprises four judges, a member of the Registrar, a representative of the Prosecution and a Defence lawyer.

Francois Bazaramba, who has lived in Finland since 2003, was convicted of acts of genocide although he was acquitted of several of the murder charges. The lower court found him guilty of intending to "destroy in whole or part the Rwandan Tutsis as a group," according to the verdict. It added that he had spread anti-Tutsi propaganda and incited Hutus "to killings through fomenting anger and contempt towards Tutsis."

The appeals trial opened in Helsinki in August. It now goes on  in Kigali in a special room which has been equipped with a video-conference system allowing the accused and one of his lawyers in Finland to cross-examine Prosecution witnesses currently coming to the bar.

Hearings in Kigali should last five weeks: 39 Prosecution and Defence witnesses are slated to appear before the court.

The Finnish court is then expected to move to Tanzania and Zambia to hear more testimonies.

Bazaramba was arrested in 2007. His trial in first instance opened in September 2009.

SRE-ER/GF

© Hirondelle News Agency