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UN prosecutor seeks to transfer Rwanda genocide case to Norway

[JURIST] Hassan Bubacar Jallow [official profile], lead prosecutor for the UN-affiliated International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) [official website; JURIST news archive] asked Wednesday that the Tribunal transfer the case of former Rwanda official Michel Bagaragaza to Norway. Bagaragaza, who has pleaded not guilty to genocide charges and is being held in the Netherlands [JURIST report], supported the transfer request. He was director of the office controlling the tea industry and a member of the ruling party at the time of the 1994 genocide, and is accused of supporting the training and funding of the youth militia Interahamwe [Wikipedia backgrounder].

Jallow argued that the transfer of cases outside Rwanda [JURIST news archive] would provide for a wider understanding of the events that occurred in Rwanda in the early 1990s. The transfer is also likely to help the ICTR meet its mandate to complete its work by 2010. Norway's criminal code does not include a genocide charge, so Bagaragaza is expected to be charged with accessory to homicide, which carries a maximum 21-year sentence. The ICTR has a news release on the request. UN News Centre has more.

9:39 PM ET - Late reports say Norway has agreed to take the case, making it the first country outside Africa to try a Rwanda genocide suspect. BBC News has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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