21.06.07 - ICTR/FRANCE/RWANDA - FATHER MUNYESHYAKA INDICTED BY THE ICTR TWO YEARS AGO

Arusha, 21 June 2007 (FH) - The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) has just made public the established indictment, filed two years ago, against Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka and the former prefect Laurent Bucyibaruta, both exiled in France.   
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The French legal authorities accepted, at the request of the ICTR Prosecutor, to try the two accused. This request requires an agreement of an ICTR chamber.
 
The indictment against the former prefect of Gikongoro (southern Rwanda) was signed by the Prosecutor, Hassan Bubacar Jallow, on 16 June 2005; while the one against the catholic priest was signed on 20 July 2005. The two texts had been under seal until the beginning of this week.
 
The two men were also sought by the Rwandan authorities, which have already tried and convicted Father Munyeshyaka in absentia.
 
The priest is accused of genocide, rape, murder and extermination, of crimes committed "in the intention to destroy all or part of the Tutsi ethnic group as such", according to the indictment. According to the text, Munyeshyaka raped, between April and June 1994, 4 Tutsi girls at the presbytery of the Holy Family parish, of which he was the priest, and helped and encouraged Interahamwe militiamen to commit rapes.
 
In addition to the murders which would have been committed under his orders, Munyeshyaka is accused of having, in person, in April 1994, in the enclosure of the Holy Family parish, killed three young Tutsis belonging to the same family.
 
For his part, the former prefect is charged for directly and publicly inciting genocide, genocide, complicity to genocide, extermination, murder and rapes.
 
In April 1994, a few days after the death of President Juvénal Habyarimana, Laurent Bucyibaruta, "toured the town of Gikongoro in a car addressing the population and declaring that it was necessary to seek all Tutsis and kill them", accuses the Prosecutor.
 
He is also accused of having ordered the massacres of Tutsis and moderated Hutu in various places of the prefecture, in particular in the parishes of Kibeho, Cyanika, Kaduha and in the prison of Gikongoro.
 
In addition, several Tutsi women and girls would have been raped by soldiers, gendarmes and militiamen at road blocks set up on the orders of the defendant.
 
In a letter dated 19 July 2006, the French Ministry of Justice confirmed the presence of the two men on French territory and "the agreement of the French legal authorities" to try them.
 
According to the Rwandan pro-governmental daily newspaper, The New Times, the Attorney General of Rwanda, Martin Ngoga, did not at all appreciate this transfer project justified by the completion strategy of the Tribunal, which must finished its first instance trials by the end of 2008.
 
"My Government has serious concerns with this, principally because well-known fugitives continue to live in that country ( France ) with impunity. We intend to raise this issue with appropriate authorities at the highest level," Ngoga said in a statement seen by The New Times.

ER/PB/MM

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