Sadi Bugingo

23.04.2016 ( Last modified: 08.06.2016 )
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facts

During the Genocide, Bugingo was allegedly a high profile militia member in Kibungo Prefecture, now Ngoma District, and a renowned businessman in Kibungo town.

He allegedly was a member of the Interahamwe militia which was responsible for most of the killings in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda during which an estimated number of 800.000 people were killed. Bugingo allegedly supervised killings, planned the attacks and distributed food rations to the Interahamwe militia.

A Member of Parliament who survived the Kibungo executions told the Rwandan newspaper “New Times” that the Interahamwe militia had formed lines, had moved into bushes and gullies to hunt and kill the hiding Tutsi. When the Interahamwe gangs had returned from their daily killing tours, a report of the killings had been submitted to three people: Etienne Nzabonimana, Habimana alias Cyasa and to Bugingo. The survivor said further that Bugingo as well as the other two had been clearly among the leaders of the Interahamwe who were given names and figures or those killed, arranged for the day’s food and the next day’s attacks. The survivor also said that while the other two went into the bush to hunt and kill hiding Tutsis, Bugingo drove around in a Suzuki vehicle monitoring the streets of Kibungo town.

In 2001 Bugingo moved to Bergen (Norway) with his wife and three children. According to “New Times” he worked as a cleaner in a mall.

Rwanda sent out an indictment and an international arrest warrant to Norway for Bugingo in January 2008.
On 3 May 2011, Bugingo was arrested in Norway by the National Criminal Investigation Service. According to John Bosco Siboyintore, acting head of the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU), Norwegian investigators and prosecutors had gone to Rwanda to gather information and had been investigating him for the last two years,

legal procedure

On 3 May 2011 Bugingo was arrested in Norway by the National Criminal Investigation Service. According to John Bosco Siboyintore, acting head of the Genocide Fugitives Tracking Unit (GFTU), Norwegian investigators and prosecutors had gone to Rwanda to gather information and had been investigating him for the last two years.

According to the charge sheet, Bugingo was accused of Genocide, complicity in Genocide, conspiracy to commit Genocide and crimes against humanity. Also included on the charge sheet is murder, extermination and the formation, membership, leadership and participation in an association of a criminal gang whose purpose and existence is to do harm to people or their property.

Bugingo allegedly killed people at the Economat général of Kibungo Diocese and at Kibungo Baptist Church. He is also accused of participating in the murders of Tutsi in various areas including Birenga, Zaza, and Nyakarambi. Bugingo is the second Rwandan to be arrested in Norway for his alleged participation in the genocide in Rwanda after Charles Bandora was arrested in June 2010.

The trial started in Norway in September 2012 and is expected to last until early 2013. It is the first genocide trial in Norwegian history.

Prosecutors seeks a prison sentence of 21 years for Bugingo for having supervised the killing of 2’000 people and the coordination of attacks by the Interahamwe militia. About 100 witnesses are due to testify, some via video link from Kigali, Rwanda.

Bugingo denied all charges.

On 14 February 2013, the Oslo City Court sentenced Sadi Bugingo to 21 years in prison for genocide in Rwanda. The judges, unanimously, found him guilty of the killing of 2,000 persons during three different attacks. The court indicated that it “has been proven that the defendant was part of planning the murders, which were part of the genocide in Rwanda,”

After being condemned in Oslo in 2013 at the end of the first instance trial to 21 years in jail, Bugingo appealed. The appeal’s trial opened on 26 August 2014 and Bugingo pleaded non guilty once again. According to the newspaper Dagbadet, an extradition request from Rwanda has been made. The first instance Court had denied that such an extradition request exists. This would indeed weaken the pertinence of a Norwegian trial.

On 16 January 2015 the Norwegian Borgarting Court of Appeal upheld the first instance verdict of 21 years imprisonment.

context

Rwanda has been historically inhabited by three distinct social groups, known as Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. Between April and July 1994 the country was torn apart by a bloody genocide, during which extremist Hutu people targeted Tutsis and moderate Hutus. The United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) was powerless against those committing the genocide, as the peacekeeping troops were outnumbered.

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL TRIBUNAL FOR RWANDA (ICTR)

In hopes of facilitating the process of national reconciliation and to promote peace in the country, on 8 November 1994 the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 955, establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), located in Arusha, Tanzania.

The Tribunal’s function is to prosecute perpetrators of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed between 1 January and 31 December 1994 in Rwanda. Since its inception, 92 persons have been indicted in front of the ICTR. Some proceedings are however still ongoing.

The ICTR is primed to close down in 2015.

Regarding what will happen to the functions and activities that will outlive the ICTR, the UN Security Council established the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (or “the Mechanism”), in Resolution 1966 (2010), to take over the remaining functions of both the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The Mechanism, which has been functioning since 1 July 2012, has already taken over some of the ongoing functions of the ICTR, including the enforcement of sentences of those convicted and sentenced by the Tribunal, the tracking, arrest and prosecution of fugitives earmarked for trial at the Mechanism, and the care and protection of witnesses.

THE GACACA COURTS

In 1998, discussions began under the direction of the President of the Republic of Rwanda about the possible use of traditional courts to support the ordinary Rwandan judicial system and the ICTR. A commission was created to study this possibility, and its report provided the basis of the Organic Law of 26 January 2001, which created the Gacaca Courts.

These courts were in charge of trying the low and middle-level perpetrators of the genocide, apart from the “planners” who should have been tried before national courts. The Gacaca courts were composed of elected popular assemblies, made up of non-professional judges. The composition and functioning of such courts raised several concerns about the respect of fair trial guarantees.

According to Rwandan authorities, during their functioning, the Gacaca courts tried almost two million people. On 18 June 2012 Rwandan President Paul Kagame announced the official end of Gacaca courts’ activity.