Crime & Investigation

Rwanda Doubts France on Declassifying Genocide Files

President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame light the flame symbolising beginning of 100 days of mourning in Rwanda for Kwibuka21- 21st Commemoration of the Genocide Against the Tutsi- Kigali, 7 April 2015

The Rwandan Justice Ministry has expressed doubts about France’s commitment to declassify confidential documents relating to the 1994 genocide in which one million people, find mainly Tutsi, viagra 40mg were systematically butchered by the then Hutu government.

Under pressure from scholars and human rights activists across the world, the French Presidency this week announced plans to make genocide documents accessible to the public.

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye told journalists in Kigali on Wednesday that while Rwanda welcomed the initiative on the part of France, it remained unclear if the revelations would be “total.”

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He noted: “Paris should ensure the declassification is “total” and the documents are availed to everyone who wants to read and find out the truth about the Genocide in Rwanda.”

The Minister emphasised that the political, military and diplomatic relations between Rwanda and France at the time of genocide are a “tightly guarded domain,” adding that opening up would shed light on “many dark and unanswered questions regarding Rwanda Genocide.”

The documents include confidential defence meetings, diplomatic and security correspondences during the second reign of President Francois Mitterrand.

Rwanda accuses France of supplying President Juvenal Habyarimana’s government with weapons to execute the genocide against the Tutsi and covering up their atrocities.

Last year, Kagame denounced what he termed as the “direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation for the genocide”.

“Twenty years later, the only thing you can say against them (the French) in their eyes is they didn’t do enough to save lives during the genocide,” Kagame told Jeune Afrique.

“That’s a fact, but it hides the main point: the direct role of Belgium and France in the political preparation of the genocide and the participation of the latter in its very execution,” Kagame said.

Playing on graves of genocide victims

According to official Rwanda documents, on 19 April 1994, interim President Théodore Sindikubwabo met with local officials and military officers at Gikongoro and guns and new machetes were distributed.

On that day Hutus living in the area were taken to safety in nearby schools to clearly demarcate those who should live and those marked to be killed.

When the assault started at 3am on 21 April 1994, those who had taken refuge tried to fight back with stones but most were killed under a hail of bullets and grenades.

There was a short respite at 6am when the attackers’ ammunition ran out but twenty minutes later the killing resumed. Those wounded and still alive were finished off with machetes. Fifty thousands were killed, only 20 survived. Victim’s possessions were then looted. At 11am, the Prefect Laurent Bucyibaruta thanked the killers “for the work well done.”

After 1994 Bucyibaruta fled Rwanda and now lives in France.

The genocidaires were not alone. Protected by the French-led Operation Turquoise, genocidaires continued the “work” in the Gikongoro area for longer than in other parts of Rwanda.

Dubbed a humanitarian intervention, Operation Turquoise created a safe haven for the genocidaires. French troops built a volleyball court on top of mass graves and, as the genocide continued, regularly gathered there to play.

The Rwanda Patriotic Army liberated the area at the end of August 1994.


On Monday, anti-genocide campaigners wrote to French President Hollande, saying, it is not “France” that is in question in the genocide against the Tutsi, but a “handful of people, from the right as well as the left, responsible at the highest level of the state apparatus during the second term of François Mitterrand.”

They further stated that, “Certain individuals, who led secret politics, continue to play a role on the political stage and are still present in our institutions.”

Led by Benjamin Abtan, president of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM), the scholars pointed out that, “These politics, which have never been discussed in Parliament and even less so before the French public, took the shape of political, diplomatic and military support in Paris for the extremist “Hutu Power” movement, before, during and after the genocide; of whom the French state apparatus was aware of its racist, totalitarian and genocidal (character).”

They emphasised: “Justice, above all, since France provides shelter with impunity for a number of people highly suspected of committing genocide crimes. We put great trust in the justice system to say if the responsibility of these people and of certain French people make them guilty, but it is high time that France acts vigorously.”

Rwandans are currently in a mourning period, remembering the precious lives cut short in the 100 days of horror in 1994.


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