Friday, March 26, 2021

France and the Rwanda Massacres

 France bears "heavy and overwhelming responsibilities" over the 1994 Rwanda genocide, a report by French historians says. The report said France had been "blind" to genocide preparations. The report blames the then French President, François Mitterrand, for a "failure" of policy towards Rwanda in 1994.

At least 800,000 people died when ethnic Hutu extremists massacred minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus. A Hutu elite ruled Rwanda when the genocide took place, in April-June 1994, but they were later ousted by the Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) under Paul Kagame, who is now president.

"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 tells of French decision-makers trapped in "post-colonial" thinking who supported the "racist, corrupt and violent" regime of Habyarimana

Operation Turquoise, a military-humanitarian intervention launched by France under a UN mandate between June and August 1994. Its critics believe that it was in reality aimed at supporting the genocidal Hutu government.

And there have also been repeated accusations that authorities in Paris helped suspects in the Rwanda genocide to escape while under French military protection.

The report concluded that in July 1994 "murderers but also the masterminds of the genocide" were in a safe zone established by French forces in the west of the country "who the French political authorities refused to arrest."

'Blind' France bears responsibility on Rwanda genocide, historical commission reports (

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