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Sweden: Refugee From Rwanda Convicted in 1994 Genocide

  • Associated Press

FILE - Family photographs of some of those who died hang in a display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, April 2014.

FILE - Family photographs of some of those who died hang in a display in the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali, Rwanda, April 2014.

A Swedish citizen originally from Rwanda was sentenced to life in prison Monday for his role in the 1994 genocide in the African country.

Claver Berinkindi was found guilty of genocide and gross violation of international law.

Some 800,000 people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were killed by Hutu extremists during the Rwandan genocide, according to the U.N.

The Stockholm district court said Berinkindi, 61, was an informal low-level Hutu leader who took part in massacres of civilians in Muyira and Butare in southern Rwanda.

Berinkindi was ordered to pay a total of 81 million Rwandan francs (about $110,000) in damages to 15 plaintiffs who survived the attacks or whose close relatives were killed.

"Never before has a Swedish court awarded damages for victims of acts of genocide,'' the court said in a statement.

Rwandan authorities initially wanted to prosecute Berinkindi there but since he's a Swedish citizen he couldn't be extradited.

He came to Sweden as a refugee in 2002 and became a Swedish citizen 10 years later.

Berinkindi's lawyer Hanna Lindblom didn't immediately return calls seeking comment.

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