Arusha, 13 May 2009 (FH) - Rwanda will seek from Italy extradition of a Rwandan Hutu Catholic Priest, Emmanuel Uwayezu, accused last week by African Rights for his alleged role in the genocide committed against mainly ethnic Tutsis in 1994.

1 min 16Approximate reading time

According to the tri-weekly newspaper Izuba Rirashe (Rising Sun) Wednesday edition, if extradition efforts abort, Rwanda will opt for the accused to stand for a trial in Italy, quoting Augustin Nuksi, Spokesperson of Prosecutor General.

African Rights, a human rights organization based in London, alleged that the clergyman played an important role in the massacre of more than 80 young students of Mary Mercy School, aged between 12 and 20 on 7 May, 1994,  in Kibeho ,southern Rwanda, where he was the Director.

The report claimed that a great number of militiamen brandishing machetes and daggers encircled the students on the fateful day.

"Father Uwayezu was there. The gendarmes whom he had posted there to ensure the safety of the students fired in the air ... The massacres started immediately. Except for a hand full of survivors, majority of the students perished, killed by bullets and grenades of the gendarmes or by the lances, the axes and machetes of the militiamen", added the African Rights report.

"Father Uwayezu returned to Kibeho few days after the massacres to organise the gendarmes so that they could give military training to the male Hutu students so that they could seek the survivors", accuses the report.

African Rights has called on the Rwandan authorities and Italy, as well as the Catholic Church in Rwanda, to carry out their own investigations into the accusations.

Before 1994, the report further alleges, Father Uwayezu approved the Hutu students to treat their school-mates of other ethnicity as enemies of Rwanda.

The report reminded that another catholic priest, who worked under a false name in an Italian parish, Abbot Athanase Seromba, has already been sentenced to life in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in March, last year, on appeal.


© Hirondelle News Agency