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Rwanda military court convicts priest in genocide case

[JURIST] A Rwandan military court Thursday convicted a Roman Catholic Rwandan priest of genocide for rape and assisting the Hutu [Wikipedia backgrounder] massacre of Tutsis [Wikipedia backgrounder] during the 1994 Rwandan genocide [HRW backgrounder; BBC backgrounder]. Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, who was sentenced to life in prison, has lived in exile in France since 1995. While French authorities have repeatedly denied requests for extradition, prosecutors plan to petition France once again to bring Munyeshyaka back to Rwanda. Former Rwandan army general Laurent Munyakazi, who was in command of the military in the Nyarugenge district where Munyeshyaka's church was located, was also convicted and sentenced to life in prison. AFP has more.

Since many countries refuse to extradite suspects who could face the death penalty, a ban on capital punishment in Rwanda would encourage the return of suspects for trial on charges related to the 1994 genocide that claimed about 800,000 lives. Rwanda's ruling party said last month that it has directed its lawmakers to support a forthcoming bill to abolish the death penalty. The bill is expected to be presented in parliament [JURIST report] in December.

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