France: Priest held for involvement in Rwanda genocide

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LONDON (

A Rwandan priest was arrested in France last week on charges of providing food and other things to militiamen who took part in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi minority.

Marcel Hitayezu was charged last Wednesday with genocide and being an accomplice to crimes against humanity, said the French national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office.

According to local reports, the priest, who was born in 1956, did not assist Tutsi refugees but instead gave food and other necessities to Interahamwe militiamen who hunted down Tutsis.

The priest denied charges, the prosecutor’s office added.

French courts had denied an extradition request for Hitayezu by Rwandan officials in 2016.

Rwanda on the day the priest was arrested began a week of commemoration and 100 days of mourning to mark the 27th anniversary of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group.

About 1 million people, mostly of the Tutsi community and moderate Hutus, were killed in the genocide by Hutu extremists during a massacre within a span of 100 days.

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