2010-06-11, Porvoo, Finland. The Eastern Uusimaa District Court in Porvoo, Finland, convicted Francois Bazaramba, 59, a former Rwandan pastor, for inciting genocide and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The Court found that Mr. Bazaramba incited hatred and anger towards Tutsis, forced them to leave their houses and ordered others to burn the houses down. The charges are related to the killings in the Nyakizu Region of Rwanda. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges of genocide and 15 counts of murder. He is represented by Ville Hoikkala, who said that the ruling will be appealed. Mr. Hoikkala also pointed out that a lot of charges against Mr. Bazaramba were dropped because the evidence in their support was obtained through torture.
Background: Francois Bazaramba arrived to Finland in 2003 as an asylum seeker and worked as a Baptist preacher in Vaasa and Porvoo. In 2007, Bazaramba was arrested as a result of an investigation undertaken by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation. In February 2009, Finnish court denied Rwanda’s extradition request on the grounds that the accused would not receive a fair trial there. He was charged in June 2009, and the trial began in September 2009. The trial’s proceedings were moved to Rwanda in the Fall 2009 to hear testimonies of 38 prosecution witnesses, and in Spring 2010 the court heard testimonies of 19 defence witnesses in Tanzania. Overall, the judges heard testimonies of 68 witnesses. The cost of the trial is estimated to be around $1.8m (€1.5m).