Rwanda to see if France aided killings

Rwanda is to investigate France’s role in the genocide 10 years ago in which the UN estimates 800,000 people died, the Rwandan government has said.

A Rwandan church left with the debris of genocide
A Rwandan church left with the debris of genocide

A cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Friday adopted a draft bill “to create a national independent commission charged with assembling the evidence of France’s involvement in the genocide perpetrated in Rwanda in 1994”, a statement said on Sunday.

Details of the membership of the commission were not given.

France is regularly accused by the present Rwandan government of responsibility for the genocide in which hundreds of thousands of the minority Tutsi ethnic group, and many moderates of the majority Hutus, were butchered by Hutu militias.

Tutsis claim France armed and trained the Hutu killers and provided a safe haven for them when they were militarily defeated.

Last month France and Rwanda agreed to work together to review events leading to the 1994 genocide in an attempt to improve relations.

“We discussed ways to improve and normalise relations between Rwanda and France following some misunderstandings and we agreed to forge a new spirit and work together on genocide remembrance,” French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said on a visit to South Africa.

Painful chapter

Barnier acknowledged there were recriminations from Rwanda over France’s role in the genocide and a review of that painful chapter in the central African country’s history would help improve ties.

“We do not share the view of the Rwandan side about what France did. We have to talk about this very painful past in an impartial and objective manner, work on remembrance, draw lessons from this collective inability by the international community to avert the genocide,” he said.

“We agreed on this and on moving forward,” the French foreign minister said, adding that he was “pleased by this first exchange” with his Rwandan counterpart.

A French parliamentary commission in 1998 cleared France of responsibility for the genocide while admitting that “strategic errors” had been committed.

Source : AFP

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