The report says that France bears “overwhelming” responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda

The report says that France bears "overwhelming" responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda

Paris – Because of its fears of losing its influence in Africa and a colonial view of the peoples of the continent, France remained close to the “racist, corrupt and violent regime” responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the “serious and overwhelming” responsibilities, according to A. Transfer Released on Friday.

But the report – commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and compiled by 15 historians with unprecedented access to the French government archives – absolved France of its complicity in Genocide That killed 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and contributed to decades of conflict and instability in Central Africa.

Is France a partner in the genocide of the Tutsi? If by this we mean a willingness to join a genocide, nothing in the examined archive makes this clear.

But the committee said that France had long been involved with the Hutu-led government in Rwanda even when that government prepared the genocide of the Tutsi, considering that the country’s leadership is an important ally in the area of ​​French influence in the region.

For decades, France’s actions during the genocide were the source of intense debate in Africa and Europe, with critics accusing France of not doing enough to prevent the killings or of actively supporting the Hutu-led government behind the genocide. Suspended history has always poisoned relations between France and the president’s government Paul Kagame, The Tutsi leader who dominated Rwanda for nearly a quarter of a century.

Mr Macron, who has spoken of his desire to reset France’s relations with a continent where it was a colonial power, is believed to have commissioned the report to try to improve relations with Rwanda.

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Although the 992-page report provides new information from the French government archives, it is unlikely to resolve the debate about France’s role during the genocide, said Philippe Rentgens, a Belgian expert on genocide.

“It wouldn’t be good enough for one party, and it wouldn’t be good enough for the other party,” said Mr. Rents. “ So I think that won’t solve the problem. ”

According to the report, Francois Mitterrand, the French president at the time, maintained a “strong, personal and direct relationship” with Juvenal Habyarimana, the longtime Hutu president of Rwanda, despite his “racist, corrupt and violent regime”.

Mr. Mitterrand and members of his inner circle believed that Mr. Habyarimana and Hutus were key allies in the French-speaking bloc that also included Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, then known as Zaire.

The French saw Mr. Kagame and other Tutsi leaders – who had spent years in exile in neighboring English-speaking Uganda – as allies in a US incursion into the region.

A high-ranking military official wrote in 1990, according to the report, that “the main interest of this country for France is to be a Francophonie,” and the report concluded that “France’s interpretation of the Rwandan situation can be viewed from the perspective of defense … of the Francophonie.”

French leaders at the time viewed Hutus and Tutsis through a colonial lens, and ascribe to each group stereotyped physical traits and behaviors, compounding their misinterpretation of the events that led to the genocide, according to the report.

In one of the report’s more conclusions, the report’s authors write, “France’s failure in Rwanda, of which not all of its causes, can be likened in this regard to a final empire’s defeat, and most importantly, it was neither explicit nor acknowledged.”

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