Wednesday, June 24, 2009

(RWA) Catholic Priest Faces Court Charged With Genocide


Kigali — Another Catholic Priest, Joseph Ndagijimana, from Kabgayi Diocese, central Rwanda, was on Wednesday last week charged for his role in the 1994 genocide in which close to 1 million people were killed.

The priest who has been in prison for more than 10 years is accused of having played a role in the killings of ethnic Tutsis in Kabgayi. He was tried by the semi-traditional Gacaca Court of the Byimana, Southern Province.

In the same province, Father Josaphat Hitimana, who had been convicted by the Gacaca court of the Nyamabuye sector, has been on the run since 12 May, according to Hirondelle News agency.

The Gacacas (pronounced gatchatcha) are local courts charged with trying alleged authors of the 1994 genocide which resulted, according to the UN, in nearly 800,000 deaths, mainly of ethnic Tutsis. The courts are not presided by professional judges, but by persons who are considered of high esteem in the society.

While the masterminds of the massacre are charged at the International Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha Tanzania, those who are alleged to have played 'minor roles' in the genocide are tried in the traditional courts. Even the major suspects are subjected the Gacaca upon completion of their jail terms at Arusha.

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