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Public Prosecutor v. Stanislas Mbanenande

Court Swedish Court of Appeal, Sweden
Case number Case Nr B 6659-13
Decision title Judgment
Decision date 19 June 2014
  • The Prosecutor
  • Stanislas Mbanenande
Categories Conspiracy to commit genocide, Crimes against humanity, Genocide, War crimes
Keywords due process, Kibuye, Murder, Ntarama Catholic Church massacre, Rwanda, Gatwaro stadium massacre
Other countries involved
  • Rwanda
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Procedural history

In December 2011, Stanislas Mbanenande, a Swedish citizen of Rwandan origin was arrested in Sweden on charges of involvement in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. In 1994 Mbanenande worked as a civil engineer and had a position as Assistant Professor at the University in the prefecture of Butare. Mbanenande has been living in Sweden since 2007, when he joined his family and obtained a residency permit on family reunification grounds. In 2010 the Rwandan prosecutor’s office issued an international arrest warrant for Mbanenande and in 2011 it asked for his extradition. Since Mbanenande had received Swedish citizenship in 2008 the request was declined. Instead he was arrested and indicted for genocide and crimes against international law by Swedish authorities in 2012.

During the investigation of the crimes the prosecutor and police visited Rwanda several times to view the crime scenes and hear witnesses. Parts of the legal proceedings were held in Rwanda where the District Court obtained testimony of some of the witnesses and visited the crime scenes in the Kibuye region. On 20 June 2013 Stanisalas Mbanenande was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment (maximum of 18 years) by the Stockholm District Court for involvement in genocide, being responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Ruhiro, Nyamishaba, Bisesero, the Ntarama Catholic Church and the Gatwaro stadium.

The case was brought by appeal to the Svea Court of Appeal by Mbanenande who claimed that the prosecution against him was based on false or wrongful accusations. During the proceedings the Court of Appeal also visited Kibuye and Bisesero in Rwanda to investigate the crime scenes and hear additional testimonies requested by the parties.

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Related developments

Mbanenande is expected to appeal the judgment to the Supreme Court.

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Legally relevant facts

The charges against Mbanenande included involvement in several massacres against thousands of Tutsis in western Rwanda. In the indictment he is described as having taken an informal role as a leader among young Hutus who sympathised with, or came to sympathise with Hutu extremism. Allegedly he has helped incarcerate people and then firing into the crows of men, women and children. Mbanenande was also accused of having recruited young men to participate in the massacres.

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Court's holding and analysis

The Court of Appeal upheld the District Court's judgment and the sentence but modified the ruling in so far as it dismissed the charges referring to the defendant's involvement in attacks in Ruhiro and in Nyamishaba. According to the Court of Appeal it has been proven that Mbanenande was invovled in the organised attacks in Bisesero, the massacre in the Ntarama Catholic Church, the Hotel Home St. Jean and the Gatwaro stadium. It found that Mbanenande had an informal role where he led and organised, recruited and transported perpetrators to the sites of the genocide and that he had participated in the killing and attempted killing of thousands of people during the attacks. Therefore the complicity of genocide and serious violations of common Article 3 to the 1949 Geneva Conventions were upheld by the Court of Appeal.

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Additional materials

TRIAL Fact Sheet: Stanislas Mbanenande.

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Social media links

A. Molin, 'Sweden Upholds Rwanda Genocide Conviction', The Wall Street Journal, 19 June 2014.

'Rwandamålet: Man döms till livstids fängelse även i hovrätten', Dagens Juridik, 19 June 2014.

'Livstid för folkmord slås fast'SvD NYHETER, 19 June 2014.