The more than 30 priests and nuns convicted for their role in 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda will remain serving in the Catholic Church, says Archbishop Filipo Rukamba, head of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda.
Rukamba, who heads the Catholic Church’s 7-member highest organ in Rwanda, said there is nothing they can do to those convicted of genocide.
The Archbishop’s dismissal comes in the wake of a constant campaign by the National Commission for the fight against Genocide (CNLG) repeatedly calling for action on the specific named church’s officials.
At nearly every commemoration event, CNLG’s executive secretary Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana repeats the plea.
The commission cites Fr Denys Sekamana who is back to Butare Diocese after serving his 15yr genocide sentence. Archbishop Rukamba himself heads this particular diocese.
There are other two priests currently back in Cyangugu diocese after finishing their sentences.
The Chronicles special report ‘The Catholics Who Chased Jesus From Rwanda‘ published April 20 to coincide with Easter celebrations explored the issue of catholic church officials and the genocide.
More than 130,000 Tutsis were killed at 48 parishes alone – with Churches bulldozed, grenades hurled inside – supported by hoards of interahamwe militias and government forces.
The parishes were opened by priests, Brothers and Nuns – allowing in the killers.
At least 100 of the clergy were directly involved in butchering Tutsis – and some have been indicted like Father Wenceslas Munyeshyaka who lives in France.
However, only 30 have been convicted as of 2019, according our research.
“There is nothing we can do because we cannot excommunicate them,” said Archbishop Rukamba. “…what we do is transfer them to other roles like office work. They are not allowed to return to lead Mass, manage a parish or deputize the parish priest.”
Archbishop Rukamba said there is no church decree that deals with the particular case of catholic clergy convicted of genocide.