The Rwandan government has slammed the Catholic Church for what it believes is an "inadequate" condemnation of its role in the 1994 genocide. Earlier this month, nine members of the Conference of Catholic Bishops admitted – for the first time – that its members participated in the killings.

More than 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu were massacred in three months.

Bishop Philippe Rukamba, chair of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Rwanda, later clarified that the apology was in the name of individuals and not the church, which he said did not play any role in the genocide.

Several Catholic priests and members of the church were tried both in Rwanda and at the UN special tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania, for their roles in the killings.

The Rwandan government, led by Paul Kagame, welcomed the move. However, it said the bishops did not acknowledge the extent of the Catholic Church in the massacres.

"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," read a statement.

"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," continued the statement.

"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."

Kigali genocide memorial
Pictures of some of the victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide donated to the Kigali Genocide Memorial by family members KGM/ Ludovica Iaccino for IBTimes UK