09.10.07 - ICTR/RUKUNDO - ABBOT RUKUNDO DENIES HAVING TRIED TO RAPE A TUTSI WOMAN

  Arusha, 09 October, 2007 (FH) - Abbot Emmanuel Rukundo denied Tuesday before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) to have tried, during the 1994 genocide, to rape a Tutsi woman in Kabgayi, in the center of the country.
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The priest, 48, is charged with genocide, assassination and extermination. He has pled not guilty.
 
"I did not see her during that period", defended the catholic priest, keeping himself, in accordance with a measure of the chamber, from revealing, in open session, the identity of the woman.
 
Led by his lawyer Aïcha Condé, he declared that he "had not tried to have a non authorized sexual intercourse" with the Tutsi woman in question. "I said to you that I did not meet her", he repeated three times.  
 
The clergyman also denied "having made advances" to the woman.
 
According to the indictment, the priest would have dragged the young woman to an area of the Saint-Leon Seminary in Kabgayi to try to rape her, "on a date between 15 May and 3 July 1994".
 
Rukundo, who was a military chaplain in 1994, explained that he did not have a room at the Saint-Leon Seminary and that he did not have access to the areas of the establishment.
 
Two other catholic priests, Athanase Seromba and Hormisdas Nsengimana, are being held by the ICTR.
 
Nsengimana is still on trial, like Rukundo; while Seromba was sentenced in first instance to 15 years in prison.
 
ER/PB/MM

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