A court in France has postponed to next year the hearing of an appeal trial against Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka’s case dismissal.
Father Munyeshyaka was a vicar at Saint Famille Catholic Church in Kigali during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
During the Genocide, thousands Tutsis went to seek protection At St. Famille church. In collaboration with Prefect of Kigali Tharcisse Renzaho, Munyeshyaka is accused of killing innocent Tutsi and raping women who sought refuge at the nearby St Paul Center and at the church itself.
Munyeshyaka, during the Genocide,was photographed in military fatigues and he held around his waist some grenades and a pistol.
After the Genocide, Munyeshyaka fled to France where he is still serving as a priest at Gisors Parish in Evreux Diocese.
In 2015, French court had ruled that Munyeshyaka would not stand trial for all charges leveled against him. The courts cited “poor quality of evidence.”
Several civil society organizations operating in France including CPCR (Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda) lodged an appeal against that decision in Paris court.
Alain Gauthier, President of CPCR said that he hopes that the jury of appeal’s court will overturn the verdict, adding that “Genocide survivors will be relieved if the Genocide is suspect held accountable for his crimes.”
On November 8th, the court registrar of prosecution Tribunal General d’Instruction (TGI) said that he did not get enough time to look into petitions handed by civil society organizations requesting the trial of father Munyeshyaka to take place.
The appeal trial is due to be heard on January 31st 2018.
Napthal Ahishakiye, Executive Secretary of Ibuka, the umbrella of Genocide survivor associations told KT Press that France has been manifesting no interest in giving justice to Genocide survivors.
He said that France refused to bring Father Munyeshyaka to court.
“All evidences against Father Munyeshyaka are overwhelming, but France has just refused to bring to justice all Genocide suspects hiding there. He is not the only suspect. The list is long. For example, Agatha Habyarimana is still enjoying freedom in the country,” said Ahishakiye.
“That is how it has been decided, but we wait with patience what will come out of the hearing next year.”