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Rwandan priest denies genocide charges

 The Catholic priest alleged to have ordered the slaughter of 2,000 people who sheltering his church during Rwanda's genocide in 1994 denied the charges, and said that all the victims were in his prayers. Speaking at the opening of his trial in Arusha, Tanzania yesterday, Fr Athanase Seromba said: "My thoughts and prayers are with those numerous people who died in Nyange Parish.'' During an initial appearance last year, Fr Seromba pleaded innocent to charges of genocide, complicity in genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide and crimes against humanity related to the 100-day slaughter orchestrated by the extremist Hutu government that was in power. Fr Seromba refused to come to court on 20 September in protest at UN plans to transfer some genocide trials and some convicts to Rwanda. At least 43 other suspects took part in the protest, saying they feared for their security and ability to get fair trials if they are sent to Rwanda.