France “bears significant responsibility” for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 because it remained “unwavering in its support” of its allies even though officials knew the slaughter was being prepared. France has long been accused of not doing enough to halt the genocide although there is no evidence that French officials or personnel had directly participated in the killing of Tutsis.
The 600-page report, by the US law firm Levy Firestone Muse, labels France a “collaborator” of the extremist Hutu regime that orchestrated the murders of about 800,000 people, mainly from the Tutsi minority. France led Operation Turquoise, a military-humanitarian intervention launched under a UN mandate between June and August 1994. Its critics believe that it was in reality aimed at supporting the genocidal Hutu government.
The new report alleges that in the years before the genocide, “French officials armed, advised, trained, equipped, and protected the Rwandan government, heedless of the Habyarimana regime’s commitment to the dehumanisation and, ultimately, the destruction and death of Tutsi in Rwanda.”
French authorities also pursued “France’s own interests, in particular the reinforcement and expansion of France’s power and influence in Africa”, and in April and May 1994, at the height of the genocide, French officials “did nothing to stop” the massacres, says the report.
“The cover-up continues even to the present,” the report added, saying French authorities refused to cooperate with their inquiry or turn over critical documents pertinent to their investigation.