France rejects extradition of priest Johannes Rivoire

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France rejects the extradition of priest Johannes Rivoire

Father Johannes Rivoire in Arviat, Nunavut, in 1979.

The French government officially rejected the extradition request submitted by Justice Canada for the extradition of the priest French Johannes Rivoire.

The latter is the subject of allegations of sexual assaults that he allegedly committed against Inuit children in Nunavut, in the years 1960s and 1970s.

In a decision issued on October 14, French authorities justify the rejection of the Canadian request by saying that French law does not allow the country to extradite its own citizens.

They also point to the excessive delay between the alleged events and the filing of the charges. The priest will not be prosecuted in France because of this limitation period.

All possible legal remedies to obtain the extradition of Johannes Rivoire from France or his prosecution in this State have been exhausted, underlines the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (SPPC), which made the announcement by press release.

In Canada, such limitation periods do not apply to sexual assault. The priest has been facing charges of indecent assault on a child since last February, between 1974 and 1979.

Johannes Rivoire left the country in 1993.

Other people claim to have been victims of Father Rivoire at this time, when he was a priest in the communities of Arviat, of Rankin Inlet and Naujaat, Nunavut.

Charges were previously laid against the former priest in 1998, but were dropped in 2017.

A delegation of alleged former victims traveled to France last September, in particular to meet with officials of the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, to which Father Rivoire belongs.

The delegation was led by Nunavut Tunngavik and its Executive Director, Kilikvak Kabloona.

The Inuit delegation was able to meet the priest Rivoire, who still denies these allegations and refuses to face justice in Canada.

Faced with his refusal, the Oblate congregation says it has started proceedings against him.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says it is working with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police so that Interpol issues a wanted notice for Johannes Rivoire.

Such a step could allow the arrest of the priest if he leaves France.

In the Johannes Rivoire case, we have established that there is still a prospect reasonable conviction and that this prosecution would be in the public interest, explains the PPSC.

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