Catholic Church dismisses Wenceslas Munyeshyaka from clerical duties

On 3 May 2023 at 10:47

Pope Francis has dismissed Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Rwandan priest accused of being a key mastermind of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, from clerical duties.

Munyeshyaka who has been living in France since 1994 was granted assylum on 30th July 2021. His dismissal was communicated by Bishop of Evreux, Christian Nourrichard, on May 2.

The letter addressed to Wenceslas Munyeshyaka reads that he is exempt from ’all obligations arising from sacred ordination, automatically loses all the rights specific to the clerical state, is excluded from the exercise of the sacred ministry and cannot function as lector or acolyte, nor to celebrate communion nowhere’.

It further reads that the dismissed priest should avoid places where his previous status is known.

Bishop Nourrichard noted that the Pope’s decree took immediate effect.

The reason for the Pope’s decision was not communicated in the letter sent to Munyeshyaka by Nourrichard, but Munyeshyaka had previously been suspended from clerical duties in 2021 after it was discovered that he had sired a son in 2010.

Munyeshyaka is accused of masterminding Genocide against the Tutsi in various parts of Kigali, including at Saint Famille Catholic Church, where he was a priest in 1994.

IGIHE has learnt that the dismissal of Munyeshyaka is not related to accusations regarding his role in Genocide against the Tutsi.

Instead, it is associated with punishments he received since 2021 regarding the confirmation of a child he fathered.

In 2018, French judiciary had decided not to sue Munyeshyaka over alleged role in 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi citing lack of enough evidences.

Arrest warrants issued against him indicated that Munyeshyaka was involved in the preparation nd Genocide against the Tutsi and attended meeting that were convened by the former head of Kigali Prefecture, Tharcisse Renzaho and Gen Munyakazi who was convicted of role in the Genocide.

He was also accused of rape, shooting dead four people between April and June 1994 and a role in the murder of 60 people from different places killed at Rugenge Sector.

Munyeshyaka had been convicted of genocide crimes in absentia by Gacaca courts in 2006 and had faced further charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Wenceslas Munyeshyaka has been dismissed from clerical duties.