Arusha, 26 March 2008 (FH) - The priest of Ruyenzi Parish, southern Rwanda, Abbot Denis Sekamana, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for being found guilty of having played a part in the 1994 genocide, reports Hirondelle Agency.

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The priest was convicted by the semi-traditional Gacaca court of Huye sector last week, according to information posted on website of the League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region (LDGL), an organization based in Kigali.

The judges concluded that the clergyman was responsible for the murder of three people, including one who was killed at a roadblock where Sekamana was stationed, not far from the African Catechetic Institute (ICA) in Butare.

The judges also found that he was guilty of having distributed food to the assailants to allow them to continue "their work[killings]".

During the genocide, Sekamana was director of ICA, a training centre belonging to the Catholic Church.

The priest was initially imprisoned in September 1994 then, four years later, after having served his sentence he was arraigned before the conventional court.

Several clergymen have been prosecuted for genocide in Rwanda before gacaca courts, inspired by traditional village justice system. The courts are not presided by professional judges but by people of high integrity in the society.

Abbot Athanase Seromba, first catholic priest tried by the UN tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, was sentenced in appeal to life in prison on 12 March, this year.


© Hirondelle News Agency