Crime & Investigation

Rwanda Catholic Bishops Apologise for Role in 1994 Genocide

Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial recently

The Catholic Church in Rwanda has apologised for its members’ role in the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of one million people mainly Tutsi.

“Even though the church sent no body to do harm, healing we, more about the Catholic clerics in particular, apologise, again, for some of the church members, clerics, people who dedicated themselves to serve God and Christians in general who played a role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi,” the church said in a statement signed by 9 Bishops representing all the Dioceses in Rwanda.

“We apologise and apologise for all Christians due to various crimes we committed, we are saddened by the fact that some of our followers ignored the vow with God through baptism and ignored God’s commandments.”

The African Union report on the mass slaughter previously said the Catholic Church in Rwanda was carrying a “heavy responsibility” for failing to oppose, and even promoting, ethnic discrimination.

The report observed that the church offered “indispensable support” to the Hutu regime during the genocide and said church leaders played “a conspicuously scandalous role” in the genocide by failing to take a moral stand against it.

“This stance was easily interpreted by ordinary Christians as an implicit endorsement of the killings, as was the close association of church leaders with the leaders of the genocide,” the report said.

Some of the Catholic Church leaders reported to the genocidal regime about the Tutsi hiding in their churches.

This allowed the machete-wielding gangs to easily execute the terrified Tutsi.

The Church’s apology has since been warmly received by many people in Rwanda as a great leap forward in reconciliation and fighting the genocide ideology.

The Clergy apologised for “all hate sins and divisions that were created in our country to the level that we hated our compatriots based on ethnicity. We ask for forgiveness that very often we did not show that we are just one family and people turned to their colleagues to kill, looted their properties and dehumanised them.”

“We apologise for all shepherds of Christians who caused conflict and sowed seeds of hatred among them and those who mistreated others, abused their rights in their services.”


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