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Emmanuel Rukundo Convicted Of Genocide

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ARUSHA, Tanzania — A U.N. tribunal convicted a former Rwandan military chaplain Friday of attempted rape and genocide for crimes that included killing people who had sought refuge in a seminary.

The three-judge panel sentenced Emmanuel Rukundo to 25 years in prison.

There was clear evidence that Rukundo, who is 50, directed the killings of Tutsi civilians in the central Rwanda area of Gitarama during the 1994 genocide, said Judge Joseph Asoka Nihal de Silva. The judges also considered Rukundo's education and stature as a priest in making their judgment, de Silva said.

Rukundo was found to have played an integral role on at least four occasions in the abduction and killing of Tutsi refugees from the St. Leon Minor Seminary in Gitarama, the judges said.

They said that Rukundo attempted to rape a Tutsi woman at the same seminary. The victim testified against Rukundo during the trial.

A Hutu extremist militia known as the Interahamwe, along with army soldiers, killed more than 500,000 members of the Tutsi minority and politically moderate Hutus between April and July 1994.

De Silva said Rukundo will serve 17 and half years because the judges gave him credit for the seven and a half years he has already spent in detention. The prosecutor, Hassan Jallow, said he will wait to see the full judgment to decide whether to appeal the sentence.

Defense lawyer Aicha Conde said he wanted to study the judgment before making any comment.

Rukundo was arrested in Switzerland July 2001 and transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda detention center two months later. His trial began in November 2006. The tribunal was set up in 1994 to try the key organizers of the genocide. Including the Rukundo case, the tribunal has made 38 judgments, including six acquittals. Nine trials remain under way and seven other people are awaiting trial. The U.N. Security Council has given the tribunal until the end of the year to complete all trials.