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Rwanda 1994: France bears ‘overwhelming’ responsibility – report says

A historical commission established to probe the role of French forces in the devastating 1994 Rwandan genocide which saw the grand massacre of 800,000 people concluded that, “blind” France bears overwhelming responsibility.

The 15-member commission which was made up of historians including experts with experience on the Holocaust, the massacres of Armenians in World War I and international criminal law was given access to archives for their investigation. 

The commission’s reports says that, the archival documents did not demonstrate a “willingness to join a genocidal operation” but the research “establishes a set of responsibilities, both serious and overwhelming.”

The report revealed that, “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.” 

It further established that, there was “failure” on the part of former French leader, Francois Mitterrand to prevent the occurrence following his adoption of a “binary view” which set the then Hutu president, Juvenal Habyarimana, against an “enemy” of the Tutsi forces whilst deciding to provide military intervention “belatedly.”

The Commission concluded that in July 1994, French forces provided refuge for “murderers but also the masterminds of the genocide;” adding that, they were people “who the French political authorities refused to arrest.”

Vincent Duclert, head of the Commission which was set-up by Emmanuel Macron in 2019 handed the damning report over to the President at the Elysee Palace

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