Rwanda seeks high court permission to send priest to Belgium for genocide trial

[JURIST] The Rwandan government wants to send a Catholic priest back to his home of Belgium to face trial on genocide charges and asked its highest court on Tuesday for permission to do so. Catholic missionary Guy Theunis is accused [JURIST report] of publishing extremist articles that incited Hutus to kill Tutsis during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda [JURIST news archive]. Theunis worked in Rwanda as a member of the White Fathers Catholic order from 1970 until 1994 and has made no objection to standing trial in Belgium. He was the first foreigner to appear before Rwanda's community gacaca courts [official website], which were established to investigate more than 760,000 people believed to have been involved in the 100-day massacre of Tutsis. Theunis' case was subsequently referred to a higher court that has authority to impose the death penalty for genocide crimes. In September, Belgium proposed that Theunis be transferred to Belgium where he would face trial if a Belgium judge investigating the charges decided to prosecute. Rwanda's high court is expected to rule on the request on Wednesday. Reuters has more.

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