Macron orders investigation of France’s role in Rwanda’s genocide

epa07362420 French President Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting with Laurent Pinatel spokesperson of Farmer Confederation, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 11 February 2019. EPA-EFE/GONZALO FUENTES / POOL MAXPPP OUT

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French President Emmanuel Macron has appointed a panel of experts to investigate France’s role in Rwanda’s genocide 25 years ago.

Twenty-five years after the Rwandan genocide, both Kigali and Paris are still trying to shed light on some of the grey areas of the massacre of nearly one million people between April and July 1994. Did the then French government turn a blind eye to the evidence? Did it allow some of the perpetrators to go free?

Rwanda has accused France of complicity in the mass killings – a charge repeatedly denied by Paris, the BBC reports.

On April 7, Rwanda will mark 25 years since the start of the genocide in which between 800,000 and one million people – mainly ethnic Tutsis – were slaughtered in just 100 days, between April 7 and July 17, 1994.

For the past quarter century, France has been closely associated with the tragedy. Well-kept secrets on France’s role are only now starting to be revealed. Twenty-five years after the tragic events of 1994, newly obtained documents show that the humanitarian zone, which was controlled by the French army at the time, was used by some Hutus to flee to neighbouring Zaire (now known as DR Congo). These documents also reveal tensions at the time between the French presidency and the French foreign ministry over how to react to the events unfolding in Rwanda.

The experts will now consult archives to analyse France’s role. They will have access to presidential, diplomatic, military and intelligence archives, Mr Macron’s office said in a statement. Julien Allaire of Survie, a Paris-based NGO that focuses on relations between France and Africa, told the BBC that there was already ample evidence of “France’s diplomatic, military and economic support for the Rwandan government before, during and after the genocide”.

Via France 24 / BBC


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