Rome should act on Fr. Uwayezu

Human rights watchdog, Africa Rights on Tuesday released a report indicating that a Genocide suspect and Catholic priest, Fr. Emmanuel Uwayezu, is living in Italy. The nine page report says Fr. Uwayezu, accused of organising the death of students in the Southern Province, is now a vicar at a parish in Empoli, a small city about 20 kilometres to the west of Florence in Italy. According to the report, Fr. Uwayezu is said to be responsible for the death of 80 Students at the Kibeho College of Arts in the Southern Province, on 7 May 1994. Like many Genocide suspects still at large in Europe, Fr. Uwayezu, has also tried to change his real names to cover his true identity. He is just there in a church preaching the word of God and telling Christians without shame to repent their sins.

Human rights watchdog, Africa Rights on Tuesday released a report indicating that a Genocide suspect and Catholic priest, Fr. Emmanuel Uwayezu, is living in Italy.

The nine page report says Fr. Uwayezu, accused of organising the death of students in the Southern Province, is now a vicar at a parish in Empoli, a small city about 20 kilometres to the west of Florence in Italy.

According to the report, Fr. Uwayezu is said to be responsible for the death of 80 Students at the Kibeho College of Arts in the Southern Province, on 7 May 1994.

Like many Genocide suspects still at large in Europe, Fr. Uwayezu, has also tried to change his real names to cover his true identity. He is just there in a church preaching the word of God and telling Christians without shame to repent their sins.

Fr. Uwayezu’s case is only the latest in a long string of reports of genocide suspects, hiding not only in European countries but some here in Africa.

Barely a month ago, the same rights group released another detailed report on Vincent Nzigiyimfura, a businessman living in Malawi. He is also accused of having spearheaded killings of  the Tutsi in Nyanza in the Southern Province.

The Rwandan Government has a legitimate reason to demand Uwayezu’s quick extradition and face trail at home where he committed the crimes.

There is no reason why Rome should not extradite Fr. Uwayezu, because being a priest does not in any way put him above the law. And it’s only when he has appeared before court that he can prove his innocence.

This case presents yet another challenge for the Catholic Church given its already sordid history in Rwanda during the time of the Genocide.

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