Arusha, 19 June 2008(FH)-President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has made a scathing attack on the recent remarks by the Head of the Catholic Church in Rwanda, Archbishop Thadee Ntihinyurwa, who opted that the trial of the four Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) soldiers alleged to have killed members of the Catholic clergy during the 1994 genocide, was best to have it conducted outside Rwanda in the interest of justice.

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The Archbishop had told foreign media in an interview last week that he was not convinced that the church's lost clergy would get justice, citing possible interference from government authorities.

"Justice can only be rendered by foreigners not Rwandans that are most likely to be compromised by the establishment'' claimed Ntihinyurwa.

According to the Rwanda's pro-government newspaper, New Times, President Kagame instead reminded the Church that it failed the people of Rwanda in 1994 and that he was surprised that opposition was coming from someone who, in the past, had been subject to investigations into his personal role in the genocide.

Ntihinyurwa was then Bishop of Cyangugu at the time of genocide until 1996, when he was named to succeed Archbishop Vincent Nsengiyumva, who was among 13 clergymen allegedly killed by the RPF soldiers on 5 June 1994 in Kabgayi, Muhanga District., central Rwanda.

The four soldiers have already appeared this week before the Rwandan Military Court and two of them have pleaded guilty. However, all four are held in detention because investigations have not been completed.

According to ICTR Prosecutor, Justice Hassan Jallow, Rwanda shared concurrent jurisdiction with the tribunal over such offences and that the UN Court would monitor the trial. However, he has warned that the trial can be retracted if it lacked transparency.

"The other day the Pope apologized to Americans for crimes by members of the clergy. I am waiting for the day when they will do the same for the people of Rwanda,'' President Kagame remarked during his monthly press briefing in Kigali on Wednesday.

He also reiterated his anguish over issue of indictments by Spanish and French judges over members of RPF for the 1994 genocide. "They use the law when it suits their purposes," Kagame said, adding that he would raise the issue of indicting foreigners for 1994 genocide at the African Union Summit scheduled for Egypt later this month.

The Rwandan government in the past has been furious over the RPF investigations and even reached a boiling point by refusing to co-operate with the UN tribunal and once even denied entry visa to then ICTR Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte.


© Hirondelle News Agency