Ottawa confirmed that the Canadian Justice had asked Paris for the extradition of a priest accused of sexual assault against Inuit children. Father Johannes Rivoire, now 93 years old and living in Lyon, has been the subject of an arrest warrant in Canada since February.
Canada has requested the extradition of a French priest accused of sexually assaulting Inuit children more than 30 years ago, when he was a religious leader in the Nunavut regions of Arviat, Rankin Inlet and Naujaat.
Canadian police had already issued an arrest warrant for priest Johannes Rivoire. The fact has become a symbol of impunity within the Church.
“I am aware that an extradition request transmitted to France has been made public, which has just been confirmed by those in charge of my Ministry,” Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti said Thursday in an email transmitted to AFP, refusing to give more details.
On July 27, Minister Lametti told the Quebec daily ‘La Presse’, reported by the French outlet ‘Courrier International’ that “it is important for Canada and its international partners that serious crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.”
‘Radio-Canada’, also reviewed by ‘Courrier International’, points out that a Canadian deputy of indigenous origin, Charlie Angus, had written a letter to Minister Lametti in 2019, evoking “the lack of clarity about whether, given France’s policy if its citizens are not extradited, alternative arrangements could be made for Rivoire to be tried in France,” but there is still no response.
An arrest warrant from February
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed receipt of this request, “in the course of processing by the Ministry of Justice”, although it is very rare that France agrees to extradite its nationals.
The announcement comes when Pope Francis concluded a trip to Canada last week, where he asked for a historic apology for the abuses committed in the boarding schools of indigenous communities, where many children were victims of abuse, acknowledging that “the forced assimilation of the native peoples in Christian society destroyed their cultures, separated families and marginalized generations”.
Father Johannes Rivoire, who spent three decades in Canada’s Great North, has been the subject of an arrest warrant in Canada since February, following the filing of a new complaint in September for a sexual assault that occurred some 47 years ago.
To date, there has been no concern in this regard and the authorities have not specified the total number of their alleged victims.
Petition before the pope to intervene in the case
Johannes Rivoire had already been the subject of an arrest warrant between 1998 and 2017 for sexual assault against three minors. But the order never took effect. The priest left Canada in 1993 and now lives in the city of Lyon.
This case had already been reported to the pope by an Inuit delegation that traveled to the Vatican before Francis’ visit to Canada, but the case has been unsolved for 30 years. The nonagenarian, recently interviewed by the media, claims that he is innocent.
The religious, who has dual nationality, represents a “problematic” because it is “very complicated” to extradite French people, a source close to the case told AFP.
In northern Canada, her case remains emblematic of the impunity of sexual offenders in the Church.
“We would like Rivoire to be extradited to Canada to face his accusations in court and we have asked the pope to intervene to ask him to return to Canada,” Kilikvak Kabloona, representative of the Inuit of Nunavut, told AFP during the visit. of the pope.
Source: France 24