The Rwandan Congress of Canada wishes to draw the attention of the Canadian authorities, the media and the public on the visit to Canada of the Minister of Defense of Rwanda, General James Kabarebe, against whom an international warrant has been issued. Mr. Kabarebe will be in Edmonton on Saturday.

In 2008, a Spanish investigating magistrate issued warrants against 40 high-ranking officers from the Rwandan Army for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and terrorism. The crimes were perpetrated in Rwanda and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, between October 1, 1990, and the year 2002. Among the 40 warrants, two are aimed at the alleged sponsors of the murders of two Quebec priests: Father Guy Pinard, killed on February 2, 1997, while celebrating mass and Father Claude Simard, killed with a hammer on October 18, 1994. James Kabarebe is singled out for taking part in all those crimes.

James Kabarebe is also wanted by French justice, to be questioned about the murder of three French nationals in the April 6, 1994, plane shoot-down, which killed the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and triggered the Rwandan genocide.

The murder of the two Quebec priests was part of the government of Rwanda’s strategy to kill all foreign witnesses of massacres committed by Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). On March 9, 1995, a Canadian investigator produced a report saying that RPF senior officers likely organized the murder of father Simard.

The Government and Parliament of Canada were shocked by the murder of father Pinard. On February 2, 1997, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien expressed “shock and deep sadness at the murder of Canadian priest, Father Guy Pinard, who was killed in his church.” He added that it was “a tragedy that such violence has been directed against one who had committed himself to assisting Rwanda with such dedication and personal commitment.” Prime Minister Chrétien concluded his statement by expressing “the hope that the perpetrators of this barbaric act will be found and brought to justice.” The day after, in the House of Commons, several members of Parliament rose to condemn the killing of father Pinard.

The families of Father Simard and Pinard as well as many other Canadian citizens are still waiting for justice to be served. The visit of James Kabarebe on Canadian soil should be seen as an opportunity for Canadian authorities to show their commitment to the rule of law. We very much hope that they will arrest this individual and bring him to justice for the extremely serious crimes he is suspected of.