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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Rwanda set release report on French role in 1994 genocide

The findings of a commission in Rwanda, that has spent two years uncovering France’s role in 1994 genocide are set to be made public Friday.

There have been persistent, and so-far unsubstantiated, claims that France under then-President Francois Mitterrand did not act responsibly enough to stop the slaughter of at least 800,000 people in Rwanda.

Rwanda set release report on French role in 1994 genocideSome have also accused France, a one-time colonial power in Africa, of being complicit in the killings, which principally claimed victims from Rwanda’s Tutsi ethnic minority.

Historian Vincent Duclert, the commission head, is presenting the report to President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, after which it is supposed to be published online.

The commission’s 12 researchers had rare archival access to sensitive diplomatic and military intelligence.

Claims of France’s role in the genocide have dogged the Franco-Rwandan relationship since the 1990’s.

As a result, Macron in May 2019 ordered the commission to shed light on what happened between 1990 and 1994 in Rwanda to potentially ease relations between the two countries.

The commission has also looked at the presidential archives of Mitterrand, who had close ties to former Ruwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a member of the country’s Hutu ethnic group.

The killings were triggered by the downing of a plane carrying Habyarimana and his Burundian counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira on April 6, 1994.

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