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Bringing justice to victims of international crimes

Stanislas Mbanenande

Indicted on 5 November 2012; Trial strated on 16 November 2012; First tried case of genocide in Sweden; Sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide on 20 June 2013.
Civil engineer and teacher

Mbanenande was indicted by the Stockholm District court on 5 November 2012 on the counts of genocide and jus gentium including the crimes of murder, attempted murder and abduction. Mbanenande pleads not guilty. 

The trial started on 16 November 2012 and the Swedish Government, on request from the Prosecution, because the accused is now a Swedish citizen, has decided that the trial will be held in Sweden. However, out of the 80 days of trial, some of them will be held in Rwanda. By the end of November 2012, the Bench, the Prosecution, the Defense and the victims’ representation will travel to the areas around Kibuye and from 28 November and onwards, questioning of victims and witnesses will be held in the Supreme Court’s premises in Kigali. The examinations can be monitored by a video link in the Swedish District court. The Prosecution will call over 40 witnesses, 19 out of those are survivors of the alleged attempts of murder committed by Mbanenande.

This will be the first time that a Swedish court tries the crime of genocide and the first case in relation to Rwanda. The Stockholm District Court has, nevertheless, tried several cases of war crime committed during the Balkan Wars during the 90s.

Mbanenande’s defense lawyer, Tomas Nilsson argues that it will be difficult to handle the evidence in the case as it deals with incidents that occurred 18 years ago. 

The case it controversial as Mbanenande has already been sentenced by a Gacaca court and it is against international principles to try someone for the same crime twice. However, Swedish law does not recognise gacacas and it is therefore argued by the Court that it can try the accused in Sweden. The Defense, nevertheless, points out that even though the Swedish Court does not recognise the Gacaca sentence, several of the testimonies will overlap. 

On 20 June 2013, the Swedish court delivered its judgement and sentenced Mbanenande to life imprisonment.

According to the Court Mbanenande had a leading role at a lower level and was directly involved in killings, attempted killings and the kidnapping of civilians in Kibuye between 6 April and 18 July 1994. Mbanenande was also held guilty for attempted murder at several occasions for firing with an automatic weapon at a group of people. In relation to some of the charges surrounding the massacres in a neighbourhood in Kibuye, the Court held that the Prosecutor had not presented enough evidence for a conviction.

According to the Court, it has been proven that Mbanenande has committed these attacks with the intention to deliberately and systematically destroy, in whole or in part, the ethnic group Tutsi and thus he was held guilty of genocide. This is the first time that anyone has been convicted for the crime of genocide in a Swedish court. Because of the acts committed and their connection to the armed conflict in Rwanda in 1994, several violations of international humanitarian law were made and Mbanenande was held guilty of violating several rules and principles of international customary law.

Although claims were made to the Swedish court, the Court did not award any damages to the victims as it considers that Rwandan law should be applied in relation to compensation.

Trial Watch would like to remind its users that any person charged by national or international authorities is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Fact sheet

Rwanda Sweden 26.08.1958 Stockholm, Sweden. 07.04.1994  - 07.1994 Genocide



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