HELSINKI (ABP) – A Finnish court has sentenced a former Rwandan Baptist pastor to life in prison for participating in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.
Francois Bazaramba, 59, was a pastor in the Baptist church in the community Nyakizu, where 5,000 members of the Tutsi ethnic group were slaughtered in April and May of 1994. Prosecutors claim he also was an active member of a Hutu extremist group that orchestrated the killing.
Supporters said they do not believe that Bazaramba, director of the youth wing of the Union of Baptist Churches in Rwanda, was capable of the acts alleged against him. He moved to Finland in 2003.
Finland refused to extradite Bazaramba to Rwanda, fearing he would not receive a fair trial.
The trial, which lasted nine months, was Finland’s first for genocide. Bazaramba’s lawyers said he plans to appeal.
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.
Former Rwandan Baptist pastor on trial for genocide