- The Arusha-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) preferred genocide charges against yet another Rwandan priest. The Catholic Father is accused of raising funds to finance the extermination of thousands of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
Father Emmanuel Rukundo, a Catholic priest, is the second church leader to stand trial for genocide after Father Athanase Seromba who was jailed for 15 years on 13 December last year by the ICTR. He was proven guilty of "aiding and abetting" the genocide.
Father Rukundo is also accused of spearheading a demonstration to jubilate the death of Fred Rwigema, a rebel leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front that attacked Rwanda while in Uganda in 1990. Mr Rwigema was killed in the early days of the said attack.
The ICTR further charged Father Rukundo of raising funds purposely to bankroll the 100-day 1994 genocide in which an estimated 937,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.
Father Seromba's main charge had to do with ordering Hutu extremist militias to bulldoze his church situated in Nyange, west of Rwanda, where about 2,000 Tutsis who attempted to flee the genocide, harboured. Nobody escaped the attack because even those survived bulldozing were killed with machetes and guns.
Since inception two years ago, the court - which has been prosecuting genocide suspects - has sentenced 27 people and acquitted five.
Even more suspects have been tried by military tribunals and "people courts" (gacacas) in Rwanda.
Earlier, a military tribunal in Kigali found another Rwanda Catholic priest resident in France guilty of rape and involvement in the 100 day genocide. He was sentenced to life in prison in absentia.
Wenceslas Munyeshyaka was accused of delivering hundreds of adults and children to the genocidal militias, which brutally slaughtered them. He was also found guilty of rape and aiding militias to kill hundreds of Tutsi refugees at the Holy Father Cathedral in downtown Kigali, where he headed.
Mr Munyeshyaka had been jointly tried with General Laurent Munyakazi, leader of the army in Kigali's Nyarugenge District, where the church is located.
"Munyeshyaka and Munyakazi worked with militias to deliver hundreds of innocent children, women and men to militias to be killed," Brigadier-General Karenzi Karake, a judge of the military tribunal, told a packed courtroom.
However, the tribunal acquitted General Munyakazi on rape charges but ruled that father Munyeshyaka had, on several occasions, raided halls where refugees had sought shelter at the Holy Family Church complex to pick out young girls and women whom he raped in nearby buildings.
"We will once again request France to extradite Munyeshyaka to serve his sentence in Rwanda," Major Christopher Bizimungu, the prosecutor, said.
Rwanda has accused France of hosting many genocide suspects and of not cooperating in the prosecution of this crime against humanity.
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