Rwandan report says France ‘bears significant responsibility’ over genocide

Vincent Duclert (L), a French historian and President of the Rwanda Commission, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame (R) pose for a photograph at the statehouse in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 9, 2021, after Kagame received the Duclert report. The Duclert report, a report about the role of France in the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, was published on March 26, 2021.<br />The commission of historians set up by French President Emmanuel Macron declared a “failure” on the part of France over the genocide that saw around 800,000 people slaughtered, mainly from the ethnic Tutsi minority. PHOTO: Twitter/Presidency | Rwanda

France “bears significant responsibility” for enabling the genocide in Rwanda and still refuses to acknowledge its true role in the 1994 horror, said a report commissioned by Kigali that was released Monday.

“It is our conclusion that the French government bears significant responsibility for enabling a foreseeable genocide,” concluded the nearly 600-page report into France’s role in the pogrom that saw some 800,000 people killed between April and July 1994.

The years-long investigation by US law firm Levy Firestone Muse said France knew a genocide was coming but remained “unwavering in its support” for its Rwandan allies, even when the planned extermination of the Tutsi minority became clear.

The report, commissioned by Rwanda in 2017, found no evidence of French officials or personnel directly participating in the killing of Tutsis.

But it rejected the assertion that France was “blind” to the looming massacres, a conclusion recently reached by French historians commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron to probe the same historic events.

Those findings, released in March, said France bore “overwhelming responsibilities” over the genocide and acknowledged a “failure” on its part, but no complicity in the killings.

The Rwanda-commissioned inquiry said France “was an indispensable collaborator in building the institutions that would become instruments of the genocide”.

“No other foreign government both knew the dangers posed by Rwandan extremists and enabled those extremists… The French government’s role was singular. And still, it has not yet acknowledged that role or atoned for it,” the report stated.

It also accused France of obstructing its inquiry by refusing to hand over critical documents, investigators said.

France has faced years of accusations that it did not do enough to halt the killings and the issue has poisoned relations between the two countries.

President Paul Kagame, who has ruled Rwanda since shortly after the genocide, welcomed the recent French inquiry as an “important step toward a common understanding of what took place”.

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