Arusha, November 17, 2009 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Tuesday ordered immediate release of former head of College Christ-Roi, Father Hormisdas Nsengimana, 55, after finding him not guilty of 1994 genocide.

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‘'Pursuant to Rule 99(a) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the Chamber orders the immediate release of Hormisdas Nsengimana and requests the Registry to make the necessary arrangements,'' stated three-bench presiding judge, Erik Mose.

In reaching its conclusions, the Chamber, he said, had assessed all the evidence of the prosecution. ‘'They do not establish Nsengimana's criminal responsibility or impact the Chamber's findings,'' he added.

The prosecution, alleging that Nsengimana supervised the killings of ethnic Tutsis at the College, had called for a life sentence in February 2009. However, the chamber considered prosecution's evidence as unreliable to convict the priest.

The prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, who also attended the session, said that he would wait for the full text of the ruling before making any position.

Father Nsengimana told the press later that he was happy with the acquittal. ‘'I thank God and my lawyers. I thank everybody who had collaborated for this success,'' he said, adding that he wished for peace and reconciliation in Rwanda.

Nsengimana is one of the four catholic priests indicted by the ICTR.

Athanase Seromba, a former vicar in Nyange, in western Rwanda, had his 15 year sentence overturned by the Appeals Court to life jail early this year. Emmanuel Rukundo, a former Military Chaplain was sentenced to 25-years imprisonment in February, this year. Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a former vicar at the Parish of the Holy Family in Kigali, will be tried in France.


© Hirondelle News Agency