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Rwandan to face genocide charges in Finland

  • Story Highlights
  • The case is the first genocide trial in Finland's history
  • The 58-year-old Hutu man living in Finland when he was arrested
  • Estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis slaughtered in 1994 by Hutu-led militias
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(CNN) -- Finnish prosecutors will file genocide charges against a Rwandan man in the killings of 15 people during Rwanda's ethnic cleansing bloodbath in 1994, authorities said Monday.

The case is the first genocide trial in Finland's history. Accused of complicity in the killings, the unidentified man would face life imprisonment if convicted.

"It is obvious, according to the pre-trial investigation, that the man has committed a crime of genocide in the municipality of Nyakizu in April and May 1994 with intent to destroy the Rwandan Tutsis partly or totally," Finland's prosecutor-general said in a statement.

The man, a 58-year-old Hutu, has denied the charges.

Stoked by the assassination of then-Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, extremist militias made up of ethnic Hutus slaughtered ethnic Tutsis across Rwanda, beginning in April 1994.

Within 100 days, an estimated 800,000 people were killed.

The genocide ended when Tutsi-led militias backing Rwandan President Paul Kagame ousted the Hutu government supporting the massacre.

The Rwandan man was living in Porvoo, about 50 km (31 miles) east of the Finnish capital of Helsinki, when he was arrested.

Prosecutors said they interviewed nearly 100 witnesses abroad before proceeding with charges against the man.

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