Church of England cited for shielding cleric on genocide

Saturday June 6 2020

 Genocide Against the Tutsi

A picture taken on March 22, 2019 shows skulls of victims of the Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi at the Ntarama Genocide Memorial, in Kigali. PHOTO | JACQUES NKINZINGABO 

MOSES K. GAHIGI
By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Rwanda genocide survivors lobby group, Ibuka, has castigated the Church of England for overlooking evidence against Bishop Jonathan Ruhumuliza, accused of complicity in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, to reinstate him.

The 64-year-old cleric is accused of having been sympathetic with the former genocidal regime, which he publicly supported and defended, even at a time it was carrying out mass murder of Tutsis across the country.

“It is a pity the Church of England disregarded the truth of what he did and instead reinstated him to work for it. They chose to exercise negative solidarity in a case like this. Sad,” said Ahishakiye Naphtali, the executive secretary of Ibuka.

Following an article in the Observer, a UK newspaper, that Bishop Ruhumuliza was accused by human rights groups of being a public apologist for the genocidal government and being complicit in the killings, the Church of England placed him on a “special leave” in 2014, pending investigations.

However, the Church reinstated him last month, appointing him Interim NS Assistant Curate of Astley, Tyldesley and Mosley Common (Manchester), defending its decision by citing rulings by the immigration tribunal and court of appeal confirming his right to stay in the UK, and support he got from the current archbishop in Rwanda.

Among the accusations levelled against him, is that in May 1994, Ruhumuliza wrote to the secretary general of the All Africa Council of Churches, Jose Chipenda, defending the extremist government and blaming the mass killings on the RPF.

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In 1998, London-based African Rights claimed Ruhumuliza “arranged for Tutsis to be excluded from refuge” and alleged the priest was “directly involved in the killings” by making requests for weapons.

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