France partially responsible for Rwanda genocide deaths

France Bears ‘Overwhelming Responsibility’ for Rwanda Genocide

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A report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 found that France bears “serious and overwhelming” responsibilities for the Rwanda genocide.

The genocide took place between April and July of 1994 began after Rwanda’s Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane was shot down over Kigali on Apr. 6.

“Is France an accomplice to the genocide of the Tutsi? If by this we mean a willingness to join a genocidal operation, nothing in the archives that were examined demonstrates this,” the report’s conclusions said. “Nevertheless, for a long time, France was involved with a regime that encouraged racist massacres… It remained blind to the preparation of a genocide by the most radical elements of this regime.”

The report states that French leaders were blinded by “post-colonial” thinking who backed the “racist, corrupt and violent” regime of Habyarimana. Former leader Francois Mitterrand “maintained a strong, personal and direct relationship with the Rwandan head of state,” the report adds.

This is not the first time France has been found to be complicit in the Rwandan genocide.

France led Operation Turquoise, humanitarian purposes in June 1994. Many believed the operation was actually to assist the genocidal Hutu government.

“Rather than protecting Tutsis from the genocidal regime, Opération Turquoise was co-opted to allow the perpetrators to continue their campaign of violence and eventually escape the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) advance by fleeing into neighboring Zaire,” a 2018 report published by Divergent Options reads. “The results of this would prove disastrous.”

In May of last year, Rwandan genocide suspect Felicien Kabuga was finally arrested in France after spending a quarter of a century on the run.

Kabuga was indicted in 1997 on seven counts of genocide, complicity in genocide, direct and public incitement to commit genocide, attempt to commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, persecution and extermination.

Prosecutors allege that Kabuga was one of the main benefactors of the genocide. Kabuga’s RTLM radio station incited the attacks in which ethnic Hutu extremists slaughtered about 800,000 Rwandans. Tutsis were hacked to death with machetes (allegedly provided by Kabuga), burned alive or shot.

While Kabuga deserves to face justice, Rwandan officials want to ensure that France is also held accountable for serving their own interests during the genocide.

“France wants to blame us, the ones whose families were murdered, the ones who put a stop to the murderers; they want to blame us for the genocide because they cannot face their own guilt,” says Rwanda’s foreign minister, Charles Murigande.

“The French armed the killers and they trained them even when they were saying they were going to kill the Tutsis, and France supported the genocide regime right up until the end, even helping the killers to escape.” Why? “Because they have this obsession with Anglo-Saxons.”

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