October 29, 2009 / 4:15 PM / 10 years ago

Canada court gives Rwandan life term for war crimes

Skulls of the remains of Rwanda genocide victims stored in a catholic church in Nyamata 20km from the capital Kigali, April 7, 2008. REUTERS/Arthur Asiimwe

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian court on Thursday sentenced a Rwandan man to life in prison after he was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said.

Desire Munyaneza was convicted in a Quebec court in May, becoming the first person to be found guilty under Canada’s war crimes act. He will serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole, the CBC said.

In 1994, extremists from Rwanda’s Hutu majority hacked and shot to death 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus. During the two-year trial, the court heard from dozens of witnesses, some of whom identified Munyaneza as the man responsible for dozens of killings and rapes.

Munyaneza’s lawyer has already said he will appeal the conviction.

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