- The UN-backed tribunal has increased the sentence of a convicted Rwandan Catholic priest from 15 to life sentence.
Athanase Seromba was sentenced to serve 15 years in jail in December 2006 after he was proven guilty of being responsible for the deaths of 2,000 Tutsis who sought refuge in his church in Nyange, western Rwanda during the country's 1994 genocide. He was charged with aiding and abetting genocide.
He was not satisfied with the outcome of the trial, and decided to file an appeal. But the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda realised that Father Seromba deserved life sentence.
Seromba was the first Catholic priest to be tried for Rwandan genocide. He denied all the charges brought against.
But prosecutors argued that the priest did ordered not only ordered the bulldozing of the church, but he also invited the Hutu extremist militia to kill any survivors with matches and guns. During the operation, all those who sought refugee inside the building were killed.
Some 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered during the 100-day genocide.
The UN tribunal has sentenced about 30 people and acquitted five others.
In 2006, a military tribunal in the Rwandan capital Kigali found another local Catholic priest guilty of rape and other genocide crimes. Wenceslas Munyeshayaka, who resides in France, was sentenced to life in prison in absentia.
Munyeshyaka was accused of delivering hundreds of Tutsis refugee adults and children at his Holy Father Cathedral in Kigali to the genocidal militias, which brutally slaughtered them.
He had been jointly tried with General Laurent Munyakazi, leader of the army in Kigali's Nyarugenge District, where the church is located.
"Munyeshyaka and Munyakazi worked with militias to deliver hundreds of innocent children, women and men to militias to be killed," Brigadier-General Karenzi Karake, a judge of the military tribunal, told a packed courtroom.
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