The government of Rwanda has reacted to the recent apology contained in a statement authored by the Catholic Church apologizing on behalf of its members’ complicity in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi noting that it (the apology) remains ambiguous and blurred on some issues.
The Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) has issued a statement lauding the efforts by the Catholic Church to apologize on behalf of its members’ complicity in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi but highlighted that the church did not distinctly come out on its position.
“Firstly, they apologize on behalf of people whose names are not mentioned and seem to free the church from the role it, as an institution, may have played during the genocide. Historic evidence suggests a different scenario from that,” reads the statement in part.
“Secondly, it is sad that some priests declined to read the apology before Christians as expected which looked like they were against the act of apologizing,” adds the statement.
The government has said that Vatican should also apologize based on severity of the mayhem and lauded the role of bishops in fighting against genocide ideology and assured that it will hold discussions with the Catholic Church enabling it to overcome its dark like all Rwandans have done in the past 22 years.
The Catholic Church in Rwanda apologized on behalf of its members for participating in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in a message meant to be read in all catholic churches across the country on Sunday 20th November. It has emerged that in some parishes in Kigali and Byumba dioceses the message was not read.
Following the apology, IBUKA, the umbrella organization of survivors of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi has hinted on possibilities of holding negotiations with Catholic Church to explore ways of how it can compensate genocide survivors.
MINALOC Statement in full
STATEMENT ON THE MESSAGE OF RWANDAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS KIGALI, 23 November 2016 — The Government of Rwanda notes the recent initiative of Rwanda’s nine Catholic bishops to apologise, in a general manner, for some of the acts committed by some members of the Catholic Church during the Genocide against the Tutsi. This step is welcome, as individual expressions of remorse. However, its profound inadequacy only serves to highlight how far the Catholic Church still remains from a full and honest reckoning with its moral and legal responsibilities. First, as they apologise on behalf of a few unnamed individuals, the bishops appear to take the extraordinary step of exonerating the Catholic Church as a whole for any culpability in connection with the Genocide. Everything in the historical record contradicts this divisive claim. Second, it is regrettable that some priests apparently declined to read the bishops’ message to parishioners as intended, thus disassociating themselves from even this mild expression of regret. Finally, given the scale of the crimes, there is ample justification for an apology from the Vatican, as has occurred repeatedly with other cases of lesser magnitude. The Government of Rwanda commends the bishops’ points on the importance of combatting genocide ideology, and will continue to engage in an open and frank dialogue with Church leaders with a view towards encouraging the Catholic Church to face up to its own past without excuses or fear, just as Rwandans themselves have been doing over the past twenty-two years.
- The Minister of Local Government, Francis Kaboneka