Following the completion of the trial of suspected genocide mastermind Laurent Bucyibaruta in a French court, survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi have called upon the French judiciary to reopen the case of Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a former Catholic priest in Rwanda. The cases of Munyeshyaka, who in 1994 was the vicar at Ste Famille Catholic Parish in Kigali, and Bucyibaruta were in 2005 referred to French judiciary by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which has since closed. However, it was not until 17 years that Bucyibaruta finally went on trial and his case was concluded last week, while the verdict was expected late on Wednesday, July 2022. The duo (Bucyibaruta and Munyeshyaka) where first arrested in August 2005 in France. However, five months later the trial chamber at the ICTR granted the request of the court’s Chief Prosecutor to transfer the cases to Paris for trial, as the tribunal approached the completion of its work. The ICTR file that was transferred to Paris charged Munyeshyaka with genocide and with rape, extermination and murder as crimes against humanity, however, according to Egide Nkuranga, the President of Ibuka, Munyeshyaka has since evaded justice because of “the Catholic Church that shielded him for long; implicating him would be implicating the church as well.” Ibuka is the umbrella body for genocide survivors in Rwanda. Munyeshyaka was ex-communicated by the church last year over an illicit affair in which he sired a child, and this is an implication that he may longer be under the protection the protection of the church, as Nkuranga indicated. “We can’t rule out the fact that politics have influence on the judiciary. We are seeing a new trend in how France is handling Genocide-related cases ever since relations with Rwanda improved. “This is when we are seeing Félicien Kabuga arrested and Bucyibaruta going on trial. We hope Munyeshyaka will also be brought to court too because there is enough evidence against him,” said Nkuranga. During the Genocide, thousands of Tutsis went to seek protection at Ste Famille church, but many of them were either picked up by mobs or even killed on ground. Several witnesses affirm that on various dates between April 8 and the first week of July 1994, at the Sainte-Famille and the nearby Saint-Paul church, Munyeshyaka participated in meetings held to organize the massacres of Tutsi along with then Prefet of Kigali Col Tharcisse Renzaho, Odette Nyirabagenzi, Angeline Mukandutiye, Laurent Munyakazi, other soldiers and Interahamwe. Munyeshyaka, who features in different photographs during the Genocide brandishing a gun, is also accused personally raping women who sought refuge at the church. Jean0Baptiste Mbarushimana, who was hiding at Ste Famille during the Genocide and encountered Munyeshyaka on several occasions, said that there are many people like him who encountered him and can testify against him. “We wish he would come to stand trial where he committed the crime. Several girls were raped by Munyeshyaka and those that resisted rape were killed including two girls I remember well, Hyacinthe Lwanga and Alice Marie-Josephine Muteteri. “These two girls were protected by their mothers and on several occasions they survived being killed by Munyeshaka. On June 17, 1994, he came picked them from the church handed them to interahamwe to go kill them,” Mbarushimana. In 2015, a French court had ruled that Munyeshyaka would not stand trial for all charges leveled against him. The courts cited “poor quality of evidence.” However, several civil society organizations operating in France including CPCR (Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda) appealed against that decision in a Paris court. Ever since, the hearing of this appeal has been postponed on several occasions. Dimitrie Sissi Mukanyiligira, a Genocide survivor and author of ‘Do Not Accept to Die’, said, “All we demand for is justice, if France cannot give us justice, then they should transfer his case to Rwanda. If they can put Bucyibaruta on trial, then they do the same to Munyeshyaka.” In 2006, Rwandan Military Tribunal convicted Munyeshyaka in absentia after he was jointly charged with Maj. Gen. Laurent Munyakazi to life imprisonment after finding them guilty of the killings of hundreds of Tutsis at the church during the 1994 Genocide. According to Gilbert Masengo, another survivor of Ste Famille, Munyeshyaka used to hand over Tutsi to Munyakazi for killing.