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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 11:35 GMT
Rwandan priest guilty of genocide
Father Athanase Seromba
Seromba claimed he was powerless to stop the killings
A Roman Catholic priest has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his involvement in Rwanda's genocide by the United Nations-backed war crimes court.

He was accused of ordering his own church to be destroyed where some 2,000 ethnic Tutsis sought shelter.

All those inside the building are said to have died.

Father Athanase Seromba was the first priest to face trial at the International Criminal Tribunal, sitting in Arusha in Tanzania.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in the 1994 killings.

The International Tribunal has tried 31 people since it was set up 12 years ago. Many more have faced justice in Rwandan courts.

Father Seromba denied the charges that he organised the massacre of more than 2,000 Tutsis at the church in Nyange in the west of Rwanda.

Prosecutors said that after he ordered the church to be demolished by bulldozers, he sent in militiamen to kill any survivors with machetes and guns.




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