A Church of England bishop accused of involvement in the Rwandan genocide has won the right to remain in Britain after a court ruled that he had shown “redemption”. David Brown


Jonathan Ruhumuliza was a senior cleric in Rwanda. He denies all wrongdoing

The Right Rev Jonathan Ruhumuliza was a senior cleric in Rwanda in 1994 when an estimated 1,000,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group, were murdered in massacres prompted by a Hutu paramilitary organisation. He moved to Britain on a student visa in 2004 and was consecrated as a bishop in the Diocese of Worcester the following year.
The Home Office said yesterday that it may appeal against the court ruling. The government believes that the bishop was “complicit in the genocide”.
The bishop, 62, a Hutu, is accused of failing to use his position as a senior cleric to halt the massacre, of arranging for Tutsis to be excluded from refuge and of having “distributed weapons to the killers”. He was also allegedly chosen by Rwanda’s interim government, which was closely associated with the Hutu paramilitaries, to travel abroad as a propagandist.
The bishop was first refused legal permission to remain in Britain in 2008 and later had an asylum application rejected. In 2014 Theresa May, who was then home secretary, ruled that he should not be granted leave to remain because his presence was “not conducive to the public good”.
An immigration tribunal ruling in 2016, upheld by the Court of Appeal last week, found that even if he was involved in “crimes against humanity” he had found redemption because of his work since the genocide. Neither court considered whether the government’s allegations against him were true or false. The bishop has denied any wrongdoing.
The immigration tribunal said that “redemption is possible, and that therefore what the [bishop] has done since 1994 is relevant and carries weight”. It added: “It is not necessarily the case that somebody involved in a crime against humanity in 1994 is an undesirable immigrant in 2015.”
The bishop became first senior Anglican churchman to return to Rwanda after the genocide to help with reconciliation. In 2005 he co-ordinated a visit by Lord Carey of Clifton, then the Archbishop of Canterbury. He became the Bishop of Kigali in July 1995 and the following year issued a statement in which he “repented the fact that owing to his cowardliness and weakness he had not taken various opportunities to condemn and speak out against the genocide”.
After controversy about his appointment he resigned as bishop in 1997 to “assist reconciliation”. He was appointed an assistant honorary bishop in 2005 by Dr Peter Selby, who was then Bishop of Worcester, at the request of the Most Rev Rowan Williams, who was Archbishop of Canterbury.
When the allegations against him were made public in 2014 the diocese of Worcester issued a statement saying that “extensive checks were undertaken through Lambeth Palace” and “no evidence was found of complicity in the Rwandan genocide”. The Rwandan government does not believe that the bishop is implicated in the genocide.
The bishop, whose three adult children live in Britain, could not be reached for comment yesterday. The Church of England said that he no longer had a “status” in the church but did not respond when asked when or why his position ended.
The Home Office said: “We are disappointed with the court’s ruling and are carefully considering the next steps.”