Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

Canada jails Rwandan war criminal

Court sketch of Desire Munyaneza during his sentencing, 29 October 2009
Munyaneza will be in jail for at least 25 years

A Rwandan man convicted of war crimes has been jailed for life by a Canadian court, without the prospect of parole for 25 years.

Desire Munyaneza, 42, was found guilty in May in the first court case brought under Canada's 2000 War Crimes Act.

He was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in 1994.

The sentencing judge said the law considered the crimes committed by the accused to be the "worst in existence."

Judge Andre Denis described the sentence, the harshest possible, as "severe".

The trial took place over two years, and heard emotional testimony from 66 witnesses about the atrocities.

'Boost for survivors'

Munyaneza was accused of leading a militia whose members raped and killed dozens of Tutsis, and of orchestrating a massacre of 300-400 Tutsis in a church.

His lawyer has said he will appeal against the conviction.

Munyaneza arrived in Canada in the 1990s and tried to claim asylum - but the authorities rejected his claims.

He was arrested in 2005 in a Toronto suburb after allegations emerged that he had been a militia leader during Rwanda's civil conflict.

Rwandan Jean-Paul Nyilinkwaya said: "The fact that he was found guilty is a very big boost for the survivors. Everybody there is desperate for justice."

Mr Nyilinkwaya, who now lives in Canada, was instrumental in Munyaneza's capture, according to Associated Press news agency.

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