Genocide: Danish electric shock

20 July 2011 by Franck Petit

The first ever genocide case brought before a Danish court has produced the effect of an electric shock. The Roskilde county court (30 kilometres west of Copenhagen) found that “there is no legal basis in Denmark to prosecute foreigners charged with genocide in another country”, in a controversial decision published on Tuesday 31 May. 

In this landmark case, Emmanuel Mbarushimana, a Rwandan citizen aged 49, is suspected of taking part in the 1994 genocide when he was a primary school inspector in the town of Muganza, south of Rwanda. The investigation into allegations that Mbarushimana committed genocide is still ongoing and an indictment has yet to be issued.

Mbarushimana has been living in Denmark since 2001. He was granted asylum, under the patronym Kunda, when he was arrested last December in Roskilde, where he was living. In particular, he is suspected of planning killings during meetings with Elie Ndayambaje, former mayor of Muganza, who is awaiting judgement at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in the Butare Prefecture group trial.

Mbarushimana’s defence counsel, a prominent lawyer and politician in Denmark, makes no secret of the fact he wanted to create a salutary schock in Denmark by asking the Roskilde court to drop the genocide charges against his client.

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