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Report on genocide in Rwanda: France shares responsibility for genocide

Report on the massacre in Rwanda
France shared responsibility for the genocide

For years, Rwanda accused France of complicity in the 1994 genocide. Historians now come to the same conclusion. They attest to “blindness” and “failure” to the country – and a burden to former President Mitterrand.

Nearly three decades after the genocide in Rwanda, the Commission of Historians has given political responsibility for France’s crimes. The scientists handed over their 1,000-page report to President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. In it they accused France of “blindness” and “failure” for failing to prevent the 1994 genocide. However, he could not be proven to be an “accomplice” in the killings. Paris now expects a good relationship with Kigali.

Macron appointed a team of historians two years ago, led by researcher Vincent Douglert. According to the report, France has a “heavy and huge responsibility” to ensure that those responsible for Rwanda commit genocide.

Under then-President Franசois Mitterrand, France “unconditionally” supported the “racist, corrupt and violent” regime of Rwandan President Juan Habariamana, the study continues. Historians point out that Midrand maintained a close personal relationship with Habrimana and received him several times in Paris.

After handing over the report on Friday evening, Elysee Palace expressed confidence that “this time the process of conciliation can begin irreversibly”. The return of a French ambassador to Kigali “in the coming months” is “a further step” towards normalization. The post of ambassador to Rwanda has been vacant since 2015.

800,000 people died in three months

In the former German and Belgian colonies of Rwanda, members of the Hutu Hutu ethnic group in Habariamana killed at least 800,000 people in three months in 1994. Most of the victims were members of the Tutsi minority, but many moderate huts were killed.

The French military was in the area in 1994 with a UN mandate. Rwanda has been accused in France for years of supporting the government at the time and complicit in the genocide.

Scientists evaluated numerous diplomatic notes, letters and other confidential documents. Recently, a court opened the archives of Mitterrand, who died in 1996, in advance of the genocide. In fact, the documents should not be accessed until 2055. In mid-February, a diplomatic note dated 1994 was released from these archives, according to which France had helped genocide suspects flee. The document shows that the government in Paris knew the suspects were in a French-controlled security zone in Rwanda, but did not arrest them.

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