A former chaplain in Rwanda’s armed forces was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the abduction, murder and sexual assault of Tutsi civilians, by the United Nations tribunal set up to deal with the mass killings that engulfed the tiny African country in 1994.
Emmanuel Rukundo was found guilty yesterday of genocide, murder as a crime against humanity and extermination by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).
In mid-April 1994 Rukundo, with soldiers of the Rwandan army, abducted and killed a woman referred to as Madame Rudahunga and severely beaten her children, the tribunal said.
"The Trial Chamber found without reasonable doubt that Rukundo was present during the commission of the crime and the soldiers acted under his authority," the ICTR said.
Rukundo was found to have an integral role in the abduction and subsequent killings of Tutsi refugees at least four times and on one occasion sexually assaulted a young Tutsi woman, it added.
The tribunal sentenced Rukundo to 25 years, with credit for the time already spent in prison.
The tribunal said that it considered his stature as a priest and an educated person as aggravating factors, stressing that "the accused was found to have abused his moral authority and influence."
Rukundo, who served as a parish priest in his native Gitama prefecture before becoming a chaplain in 1993, was arrested in Geneva in 2001.