Rwandan Church acknowledges role in 1994 genocide

The Church in Rwanda has apologised for the role some clergy played in the 1994 genocide in that country. 

In a statement issued by the Rwandan Conference of Catholic Bishops, read out at all parishes, the prelates stated: “We apologise for all the wrongs the Church committed. We apologise on behalf of all Christians for all forms of wrongs we committed. We regret that Church members violated their oath of allegiance to God’s commandments.”

The statement serves as a watershed for the local Church which had long resisted attempts by government and survivors to have it acknowledge any role in the genocide which claimed at least 800,000 mainly ethnic Tutsi lives. 

It had insisted that clergy implicated in the horrendous slaughter had acted entirely on an individual basis. Numerous witness accounts of the genocide identified both priests and nuns who participated in events, including massacres which took place inside churches.