NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Rwandan pastor accused of leading and coordinating attacks on minority Tutsis during Rwanda’s 1994 genocide has been sentenced to life imprisonment, Rwanda’s high court said on Wednesday.
In the genocide, an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by dominant Hutu forces in 100 days.
Jean Uwinkindi, who once led the Kayenzi Pentecostal church in the rural outskirts of the capital Kigali, was convicted of crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the slaughter.
“The court finds that there were killings of the Tutsi at Rwankeri and Kanzenze hills and that the attacks were led by Uwinkindi,” said Judge Kanyegeri Timothee.
Uwinkindi, 64, was arrested in Uganda in 2010 and the following year his case was referred from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in Tanzania, to the Rwandan national court system. It was the first such referral.
At the time, the ICTR said that legal reforms in Rwanda, including scrapping the death penalty for genocide suspects held in Tanzania or at large, had made the transfer possible.
The former pastor said he planned to appeal.
Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Editing by Edith Honan and Richard Balmforth