Arusha, October 20, 2010 (FH) - The Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) Wednesday reduced to 23 years the 25 year jail term imposed on Rwandan priest, Father Emmanuel Rukundo.

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"The Appeals Chamber, Judge Pocar dissenting, reduces the sentence of 25 years of imprisonment imposed on Rukundo by the Trial Chamber to 23 years of imprisonment to run as of this day," presiding Judge Fausto Pacar, pronounced.

It confirmed the conviction of Rukundo (51), former Military Chaplain, for genocide, murder and extermination in relation to abduction and murder of Tutsis who had sought refuge at Saint Joseph's College and Saint Leon Minor Seminary, both situated in Gitarama prefecture, Central Rwanda, after founding him guilty of abetting and aiding the crimes.

However, the Appeals Chamber found that the lower court erred in law in qualifying some facts and that is why it reduced the sentence imposed on the convict.

In the same judgement, the Appeals Chamber also dismissed in its entirety the appeal by the prosecution, seeking for life imprisonment sentence against the convict, ruling that it had failed to demonstrate that the Trial Chamber erred in exercise of its discretion in determining Rukundo's sentence.

Rukundo was arrested in Switzerland in July 2001 and transferred to the ICTR detention facilities two months later. His trial began in November 2006.


© Hirondelle News Agency