France needs to admit role in 1994 genocide: Rwanda
A Rwandan girl visits the graves of some of the 800,000 people killed
in the 1994 genocide. (File photo)
Sun Apr 6, 2014 10:52PM GMT
‘CAR to face massive genocide’
Rwanda has asked France to own up to its role in the 1994 genocide in
the African country that left hundreds of thousands dead.
On Sunday, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said France had
to face up to the “difficult truth” of its involvement in the massacre
if Paris wants the reconciliation efforts between the two countries to
move forward, AFP reported.
“For our two countries to really start getting along, we will have to
face the truth, the truth is difficult, the truth of being close to
anybody who is associated with genocide understandably is a very
difficult truth to accept,” Mushikiwabo said.
She said it was “impossible for our two countries to move forward if
the condition is that Rwanda has to forget its history in order to get
along with France,” adding that “We cannot move on at the expense of
the historical truth of the genocide.”
In an interview with the weekly Jeune Afrique, Rwandan President Paul
Kagame denounced France and Belgium for “involvement in the genocide,”
when the ethnic majority Hutus killed some 800,000 people, mainly
minority Tutsis, during a span of 100 days.
In the interview, published on Sunday, Kagame denounced the “direct
role of Belgium and France in the political preparation for the
“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.
Kagame’s remarks sparked a diplomatic spat on the eve of the
anniversary of the killings.
French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira pulled out of attending the
Monday’s events in the capital city of Kigali.
France has repeatedly denied involvement in the genocide, despite
findings by Rwanda’s MUCYO commission of inquiry in 2008, according to
which France had trained the militias that carried out the killings.
Relations between Kigali and Paris were completely frozen from 2006 to 2009.
The tainted relations between the two countries, however, have
improved notably since last month, when in a landmark ruling, France
sentenced former Rwandan army captain, Pascal Simbikangwa, to 25 years
in prison for his role in the massacre.