Arusha, 17 February 2009 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) will render its judgement on 27 February in the trial of Emmanuel Rukundo; second Catholic Priest to appear before the UN Tribunal, after Athanase Seromba, who was sentenced to life in prison.

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On 20 February 2008,  Cameroonian trial attorney William Egbe had requested life in prison while Rukundo's lawyer, Aicha Conde from the Bar of Paris, had asked for an outright acquittal.

A Military Chaplain during the 1994 genocide, Rukundo, who has pleaded not guilty, was prosecuted for genocide, murder and extermination.

According to the indictment, Rukundo played "a subtle role"; in the removal and massacres of Tutsis in April and May 1994 by soldiers and Interahamwe militiamen in Gitarama,  central Rwanda.

He is alleged to have massacred not only the faithful, but also some of his Tutsi colleagues.

The clergyman was arrested in Switzerland July 2001 and was transferred to the ICTR detention centre two months later. His trial began on 15 November 2006.

Last Thursday, the prosecutor had requested life in prison for Hormisdas Nsengimana, third Catholic Church official tried by the ICTR.

Another Catholic Priest accused by the Tribunal, Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, will be tried in France, in accordance with a decision of the ICTR to decline jurisdiction.

The two other clergyman indicted by UN Tribunal are: Anglican Bishop Samuel Musabyimana, who died in detention in 2003 before the opening of his trial, and Adventist Pastor Elisaphan Ntakirutimana, who died of a long illness at the beginning of 2007 only a few weeks after having served his 10-year prison sentence.


© Hirondelle News Agency