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Benedictine superiors support nuns accused of Rwanda genocide complicity

The Benedictine Order has defended the women religious currently being tried in Belgium for alleged complicity in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

"I cannot question either their good faith or their actions," said Fr Celestin Cullen, President of the Benedictine Congregation of the Annunziata, to which Consolata Mukangango (Sister Gertrude) and Julienne Mukabutera (Sister Maria Kisito) belong.

The two nuns are accused of have consented to the extermination of thousands of Tutsi civilians by Hutu militiamen who were informed of the presence of refugees in the buildings of the convent.

They have lived in Belgium since August of 1994, having been discretely welcomed into the Benedictine Monastery of Maredret.

Their trial opened in Brussels this week under the provisions of a 1993 law that allows Belgian courts to judge international crimes. Also being tried are a university professor and a former minister, both of whom are accused of planning the massacres of Tutsi in the region of Butare, in the south of Rwanda. If found guilty, the four risk life in prison.

Vidimus Dominum