Germany celebrates 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

Official celebrations have begun in Germany to mark an event that changed the world. The Berlin Wall crumbled 10 years ago Tuesday, an event that began the process of German unification, the fall of Communism in Europe and the end of the Cold War.

In commemoration of the anniversary, former U.S. President George Bush and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev have joined former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Berlin. They are being honoured for their role in dismantling the Wall.

As festivities continue in Berlin, the man who was the last leader of East Germany faces six and a half years in jail for his role in the shooting deaths of people trying to flee to the West.

Germany's highest appeal court has rejected Egon Krenz's appeal against his 1997 manslaughter conviction.

Krenz led East Germany in the final few weeks before the Berlin Wall came down. The prosecution argued successfully that as a senior official, he had profound influence over the way the state was run.

After he became East Germany's leader, they say, he waited until the last possible minute to withdraw the shoot-to-kill order against potential escapers.

During the Wall's 28-year history, as many as 200 people lost their lives trying to flee to the West.

Until now, only low-level border guards and their commanders have gone to jail for the killings at the Wall.