Rwandan Catholic Priest Known as “key genocide mastermind” Dismissed from Clerical Duties

Fr. Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Rwandan Catholic Priest considered a key mastermind of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda dismissed from clerical duties. Credit: Evreux Diocese

Fr. Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a Rwandan Catholic Priest considered a “key mastermind” of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has been, “not subject to any appeal”, dismissed from clerical duties. 

Fr. Munyeshyaka, who has been serving in the Diocese of Evreux in France is accused of playing an active role in the 1994 genocide in different parts of Kigali while he was at the helm of Holy Family Parish of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kigali.

In a statement issued Tuesday, May 2, the Local Ordinary of Evreux Diocese notifies the Priest of Pope Francis’ decision to dismiss him from clerical duties.

“By Decree dated March 23, 2023, received last week, the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Francis, by his supreme and final decision which is not subject to any appeal, has dismissed in pœnam from the clerical state Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, incardinated in the Archdiocese of Kigali (Rwanda) and currently residing in the Diocese of Evreux,” Bishop Christian Philippe Pierre Robert Nourrichard says in the statement.

Bishop Christian adds, “Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka 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 drink communion nowhere.”


Fr. Munyeshyaka, whose dismissal from clerical duties takes effect “immediately”, Bishop Christian says, “should avoid places where his previous status is known”.

In November 2006, a military tribunal in Rwanda found Fr. Munyeshyaka guilty of rape and involvement in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi and sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment, KTpress reported.

The report further indicates that the dismissed Catholic Priest was “found to have delivered hundreds of adults and children to the genocidal militias, which brutally slaughtered them.”

In October 2015, French courts decided “to not progress the case further against Munyeshyaka due to the quality of the evidence.”

In December 2021, Munyeshyaka was suspended from clerical duties by Bishop Nourrichard, after it was found out that he had sired a son, Catholic trends reported.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.