A United Nations war crimes court has sentenced a former Rwandan mayor to 15 years in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda accepted a plea bargain in which Paul Bisengimina pled guilty to two counts of murder and extermination. In exchange, the prosecution dropped eight other charges.

The 58-year-old Bisengimina was mayor of Gikoro in 1994 and was involved in the slaughter of minority Tutsis who had sought refuge at a church.

Presiding Judge Arlete Ramaroson said Thursday that Bisengimina's guilty plea could encourage others to come forward and confess their crimes.

Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the 1994 three-month killing spree.