Tabaro Theodore

08.02.2017 ( Last modified: 01.08.2018 )
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Facts

Rukertabaro ‘Tabaro’ Theodore was born in Rwanda in 1969.

He was allegedly involved in the 1994 Rwandan genocide against ethnic Tutsi, in which 800’000 people were killed.

Between 9 April and May 1994, he allegedly contributed to the rwandan genocide in Winteko, Nyakaninya and Mibirizi sectors, in the south-west of the country. On 9 April 1994, he reportedly took part in a massacre of several civilians, including rape of women and girls. He was allegedly involved in the 13 April 1994 attack against a Nyakanyinya school, and afterward an assault against Mibirizi cloister.

He arrived in Sweden in 1998 and became a Swedish citizen in 2006.


 

Legal Procedure

On 25 October 2016, Rukeratabaro ‘Tabaro’ Theodore was arrested in his home in Orebro on suspicion of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The accused was subsequently remanded in custody by the Stockholm District Court and the War Crimes Commission of the Swedish police took over the investigation.

On 6 September 2017, Theodore Tabaro was charged with murder, attempted murder, rapes and kidnappings against the Tutsi minority. He is accused of having organised, recruited, incited and even executed massacres against Tutsis.

On 26 September 2017, the Swedish war crimes unit travelled to Rwanda to gather evidence and to examine witnesses and victims. Some 30 other survivors and family members of the victims are among the plaintiffs.

His trial opened on 27 September 2017 before a special Court in Stockholm.

His trial opened on 27 September 2017 before a special court in Stockholm. On 27 June 2018, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide as murder, attempted murder and abduction against Tutsi ethnic minority. However, he was acquitted of rape charges.

Among the 30 civil parties, 16 will get a reparation.

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.

Fact Sheet
Name: Tabaro Theodore
Nationality: Naturalized Swedish national originally from Rwanda
Context: Rwanda
Charges: Genocide, serious crimes against international law
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment
Judgement Place: Sweden
Particulars: His trial opened on 27 September 2017 before a special Court in Stockholm for crimes allegedly committed during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. On 27 June 2018, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.