ARUSHA - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), will today deliver the judgment in the case of Emmanuel Rukundo, a Catholic priest accused of Genocide.
The judgment will be telecast live via the ICTR satellite. A former military chaplain in 1994, Rukundo is facing charges of Genocide, murder and extermination.
During his trial last year, prosecutor William Egbe requested for the priest to be given a life sentence arguing that he deserved no lesser punishment. Life imprisonment is the biggest sentence the tribunal can render.
“No other sentence than life in prison can correspond to the crimes that he committed,” Egbe had said during his final submissions. He added that Rukundo should not benefit from any sentence based on mitigating circumstances.
“We put forward with emphasis that there were no extenuating circumstances in favour of Rukundo because of his premeditated and direct participation in the crimes”, the Cameroonian-born prosecuting attorney had stressed.
Prosecution in particular alleged that the priest had betrayed the confidence of his fellow citizens, a majority of whom were Christians he regularly delivered the holy sacrament.
Rukundo was arrested in July 2001 in Switzerland and has been on trial since November 2006. He is the third Catholic Priest indicted by the ICTR since its creation in November 1994.
One of them, Athanase Seromba, a former vicar of Nyange, a rural parish in western Rwanda, is now serving a life sentence after the Appeals Chamber over turned a 15-year sentence that had been passed by the Trial Chamber.