The Government has expressed disappointment at a French court’s decision last week to drop a case against a Rwandan Catholic priest linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, previously convicted of genocide-related crimes by a Rwandan Gacaca court in absentia and whose case had been referred to France by the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), was the vicar at the Sainte Famille parish in Kigali during the Genocide.
He is accused of taking part in killings in various parts of the capital Kigali and handing over Tutsi women who had sought refuge at his church to militiamen to be raped.
However, French judges on Tuesday granted an earlier request from the country’s prosecutors to drop the case citing lack of evidence, alarming many observers and Genocide survivors.
The decision, Rwanda’s National Commission for the Fight against the Genocide (CLNG) says, is yet another demonstration of France’s continued reluctance to bring to book those responsible for gross human rights violations during the Genocide that currently live in France.
In a statement, CNLG says Munyeshyaka was “responsible for the crime of genocide having planned, instigated, committed or otherwise aided and abetted others in the planning, preparation or execution of the Genocide”.
“The dismissal of charges against Wenceslas Munyeshyaka is nonsense under law and justice. This decision lays bare a French court which claims to be independent but serves as the protector of a political and military class whose role led to the genocide of more than a million Tutsi not only in 1994 but also from 1990 to 1993 when France supported politically, financially, militarily and diplomatically a notorious criminal regime,” reads the statement signed by CNLG executive secretary Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana.
Munyeshyaka has spent many years in France where he continues to serve as a priest for the parishes of Gisors and the Epte Valley, since 2001.
A legal enquiry was opened against him in 1995 after a complaint was lodged, for complicity in torture and inhumane or degrading treatment.