28.01.10 - RWANDA/GACACA - OBLATE FATHER ACQUITTED ON APPEAL

Arusha, January 28, 2010 (FH) -Father Jean de Dieu Tulikunkiko, who represents in Rwanda a Catholic congregation, the Oblates of the Word, was acquitted on Tuesday by a Gacaca appeal court in Kigali of all genocide charges brought against him, according to the League for Human Rights in the Great Lakes Region (LDGL).
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The court thus confirmed the judgment delivered on April 24, 2007 at the end of the initial trial.

Father Jean de Dieu Tulikunkiko was charged with genocide, illegal possession of arms and participation in Interahamwe militia attacks against Tutsis. Plaintiffs had lodged an appeal after the initial verdict.

The Gacaca court meted out a three months jail sentence for false testimony against one of the witnesses, Adeline Mukamurenzi.

The role of the Catholic Church during the 1994 genocide is highly controversial. The Rwandan Conference of bishops has repeatedly urged believers to confess their crimes, seek forgiveness and implore mercy. However, it refuses to acknowledge any responsibility of the Catholic Church as an institution.

ER/GF

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