A new report published by the Rwandan government has levelled charges of crimes against humanity and assisting genocide against a number of high profile French politicians. Around 30 political figures, including the late President Francois Mitterand and former Prime Ministers Edouard Balladur and Dominique de Villepin are cited for their indirect culpability in the deaths of approximately 800,000 people.
“French forces directly assassinated Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis…French forces committed several rapes on Tutsi survivors”. The French are also accused of helping to arm Hutu extremists citing official papers discarded by the defeated Hutu regime detailing weapons shipments from France.
Speaking in the wake of the report, the Rwandan Justice Ministry stated: “We ask authorities to undertake all necessary actions to bring the accused French political and military leaders to answer for their acts before justice”
The report represents the latest blow in a series of diplomatic pot shots being traded between France and Rwanda over the 1994 assassination and the ensuing genocide of the Tutsi population.
Two years ago Jean-Louis Bruguiere, a prominent French anti-terror Judge, accused Rwanda’s leader Paul Kagame of bearing responsibility for the genocide. Bruguiere alleged that Kagame was responsible for organising the assassination of the then President Juvenal Habyarimana, and even went as far as to issue arrest warrants for several of President Kagame’s aides. Bruguiere’s report was later discredited owing to the fact that his investigation relied upon accounts provided by Hutu extremists.
France has always denied any complicity in the genocide, it has conceded that “political errors” were made at the time of the atrocities. The French foreign ministry is yet to pass official comment on the report’s findings.
Tim Tonkin, The Cheers News
TAGS: Africa RwandagenocideFrance