Rwanda: New Report on France's Role a Key Weapon Against Genocide Denial - Biruta

Rwandan President Paul Kagame lights a flame to mark the International Day of Reflections on the Genocide in Rwanda (file photo).

President Kagame on Monday, April 19, chaired a special cabinet session where Robert Muse of the US law firm, Levy Firestone Muse, presented a new report detailing France's role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The 600-page report entitled "A Foreseeable Genocide: The Role of the French Government in Connection with the Genocide against the Tutsi" was commissioned by the government in 2017. Local law firms Certa Law, MRB Attoneys and Trust Law Chambers contributed to the report.

"What is clear in this report is that the French Government at the time bears a significant responsibility in failing to prevent a foreseeable Genocide. They saw all the signs and were aware of the planning and execution of the genocide but did not act to prevent it," Dr Biruta, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Dr Vincent Biruta, told the media.

He said the new report will be helpful as it, among others, helps thwart revisionist theories advanced by genocide deniers.

It is not a criminal investigation, the Minister said, but a fact-finding report meant to clarify historical facts.

Dr Biruta reiterated Rwanda's stand that the report is not a response to the Duclert Commission's report because it was done at a different time.

"It was clear to everyone that the genocide was going to happen. The role of the French government is clear. The two reports complement each other. They both agree there was a role of the French in the genocide," the Minister said.

"The only difference is that the recent (the Duclert Commission) report does not shed light on the role of the French government in the genocide while this one shows this role. The Duclert report also only looks at 1994 yet this new one even covers events after 1994."

Dr Jean-Damascène Bizimana, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG), welcomed the new report, stressing that it comes as a tool to support the Commission's work.

It is helpful because, he said, it brings to light more critical facts about what happened before, during, and after the genocide.

The new report focuses more on the political responsibility of the French government.

According to Bizimana, the new report is also more informative and adds to the body of knowledge in the 2008 Mucyo Commission report that implicates 33 French political and military leaders in the 1994 Genocide.

The report explored events and evidence beyond 1994; and looked at the cover-ups of the French government after the Genocide.

It says that France did nothing to stop the massacres, in 1994, and in the years after the genocide tried to cover up its role and even offered protection to perpetrators of the Genocide.

Former French President Francois Mitterrand and his administration had knowledge of preparations for the massacres but kept supporting the genocidal government of President Juvénal Habyarimana despite the warning signs.

The report also concludes that the French government was neither blind nor unconscious about the foreseeable genocide.

According to Biruta, it details and examines the cover-up, obstruction and false narratives promulgated by the French government since 1994.

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