ICTR prosecutor seeks life sentence for Catholic Priest

ARUSHA - The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has requested a life sentence for Hormisdas Nsengimana, for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

ARUSHA - The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has requested a life sentence for Hormisdas Nsengimana, for his role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Nsengimana, a Catholic Priest is accused of Genocide, Conspiracy to commit Genocide, and crimes against humanity, murder and extermination.

At the time of his alleged crimes, Nsengimana was the head of the Christ the King College of Nyanza, Southern Province, where he was a leader of a death squad that included his members of staff.

The Prosecution on Thursday maintained that given the capacity of Nsengimana as a religious leader, he deserves no less punishment for his role in killing innocent people in Nyanza.

Prosecutor Wallace Kapaya told court that the prosecution had presented enough evidence that Nsengimana took part in a joint criminal enterprise with several people.

“He wanted to get rid of Tutsi priests in Nyanza; he sent members of his death squad “The Dragons” to kill them and they indeed killed them,” Wallace said.

He added; “He himself killed Father Mathieu a man of God, a colleague, a brother with whom he had worked for several years.”

And, according to the indictment, the priest and his death squad also held a meeting in his  room from where one squad member only identified as Pheneas, went out and approached the students’ dormitory screaming; “You are sleeping while the father of the Nation has been killed by the Tutsis!” He was referring to the death of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.

The indictment adds that as a direct consequence of these statements, ‘Hutu students launched an attack against their Tutsi counterparts’.

The prosecution added that it implicated the priest in the killings by being aware of the acts of his death squad members and having done nothing “to stop or discourage him, sanction or punish him.”  

Nsengimana is one of the three catholic priests accused by the ICTR; they include Athanase Seromba, who was sentenced to life in prison, and Emmanuel Rukundo, who is awaiting his verdict.

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