Rwanda nun denies genocide charges

A Catholic nun is on trial on charges of collaborating with military officers to kill Tutsi hospital staff and starving patients during the Rwanda genocide of 1994.

Rwanda New Times reports that Sr Theopister Mukakibibi was arraigned in a Gacaca court on 1 November for allegedly killing people at the University Central Hospital of Butare.

Mukakibibi, faces charges of collaborating with military officers of Ecole Superieur Officielle, a military training wing, and militias, to kill the hospital staffs suspected to be Tutsis.

She is also accused of starving patients with an intent of killing them and other ethnic based discriminations of the needy and critically injured persons at the hospital between 1990-1994.

"To give porridge to critically ill and hungry patients, Sr Theopister first asked for one's identity card," a witness told the court.

Dressed in a white veil and accompanied by an entourage of other nuns, symbolising religious fraternity and solidarity, Mukakibibi vehemently denied all charges against her.

She said, "I was a simple, social and a friendly person who never connived with the military and militia to cause deaths of any Rwandan or Tutsis at the Central University Hospital of Butare."

Over eleven witnesses, the majority of whom were genocide survivors, testified to have seen Mukabibi driven and escorted by military officers, giving instructions and whereabouts of Tutsis.

Two women, one in a wheel chair also accused the nun of accomplice in the killings in which her relatives died.

However, Sr Mukabibi attributed the killings at the hospital to soldiers.

"My conscious does not condemn me. So, no need to seek forgiveness," she told New Times during a one hour session of the Inyangamuyo's final judgment after a closed door evaluation of all testimonies.

Judges adjourned the case until 8 November.

Rwanda: Catholic Nun Appears Before Gacaca Court (AllAfrica, 3/11/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Rwanda Genocide (Wikipedia)
How the genocide happened (BBC News)

Belgian priest 'ready to stand trial' in Rwanda genocide case (2/11/05)
Belgian priest arrested on Rwanda genocide charges (9/9/05)

6 Nov 2006