Rwandan priest held on genocide charge

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The Independent Online
Privas, France (AFP) - A Rwandan priest was arrested in southern France and charged with genocide at the weekend. Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka was seized as he got off a train in Montelimar and was being held in nearby Privas.

Father Wenceslas, who had visited Paris to see his lawyer, appeared before a magistrate in Privas. He was charged with "genocide, torture, ill-treatment and degrading and inhuman activities". He is due to reappear before the magistrate tomorrow.

The priest, who arrived in France last September with the aid of the French Catholic Church, has been parish deacon in Bourg-Saint-Andeol since late last year. At the end of June, the Foreign Ministry was keen to stress that the French authorities were unaware of his possible implication in the events in Rwanda when he was issued with a long-stay visa.

But Father Wenceslas's name was found on a Rwandan government list of the main organisers of the genocide and political assassinations committed there last year.

Several witnesses quoted by the French Catholic review Golias alleged the priest was involved in last year's massacres. Father Wenceslas was also alleged to have raped young women while he was in charge of the Sainte-Famille parish in Kigali, where thousands of people came to take refuge from the Hutu extremists.

In a recent press conference, Father Wenceslas said he was the victim of a "drama orchestrated by extremist members of the Rwandese Patriotic Front" now in power in Rwanda. "I will not run away. I am ready to face any of my accusers in a court of law," he said.

n Kigali (Reuter) - Archbishop Desmond Tutu of Cape Town yesterday urged the Rwandan people to work together for reconciliation when he led an ecumenical service before a congregation of 10,000 in Kigali's Amahoro stadium. He Rwandans should follow South Africa's example and accept that there are no winners in war.