The International Police (Interpol) has welcomed the move by Italian authorities to arrest Fr. Emmanuel Uwayezu, a Rwandan Genocide fugitive saying it is a ‘powerful’ example of international co-operation.
Italian authorities on Wednesday arrested Uwayezu, who has been working as a Catholic priest in Italy for the last 12 years, and is suspected to have participated in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
In a media release the same day, the organisation’s Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin, is quoted praising efforts by the Rwandan and Italian National Central Bureaus (NCBs).
“This operation is a credit to law enforcement officers and agencies in Italy and Rwanda,” Louboutin says.
“The arrest of Uwayezu demonstrates the power and effectiveness of international co-operation between police world-wide in obtaining information in relation to the identification, location and apprehension of fugitives around the world.”
Uwayezu, was arrested by officers from Arma dei Carabinieri (Corps of Carabineers), the national gendarmerie of Italy, and Interpol’s NCB in Rome, following close co-operation with Kigali’s NCB and Interpol’s Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit at the General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon, France.
“It demonstrates that however long it takes, the international law enforcement community will keep on searching for fugitives until they are located and arrested, even if they go on the run for years,” said Louboutin.
Uwayezu is accused of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity.
He has been living in Italy under a false identity (Emmanuel Mihigo Wa Yezu) and working as a vicar in Ponzano-Empoli, in the Tuscany region of Italy.
He is accused of acting individually and as part of a high-up political conspiracy to plan and commit genocide by instigating the killing of the Tutsi in Gikongoro, while he was Director of the Groupe Scolaire Marie Merci college in Kibeho.
Uwayezu is particularly accused of complicity in the May 1994 massacre of 80 students in the college which he headed.
Ildephonse Nizeyimana, another key genocidaire wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), was recently arrested with Interpol’s help in Uganda.
To date 12 fugitives, subjects of Interpol’s Red Notices have been arrested.
Interpol, the second largest intergovernmental organization after the UN has its headquarters in Lyon, France but France which hosts many other genocide fugitives continuously refuses to cooperate in their apprehension.
Interpol facilitates member countries in arresting wanted criminals, but the power to arrest lies with the governments in whose soil the later are found.
At the request of member countries, Interpol’s role in relation to international fugitives includes circulating electronic diffusions and notices containing identification details and judicial information about wanted criminals.