Yes. This is a long time coming. It had to be several of French Presidents before they took any responsibility and taking to account their role in the Genocide of 1994 in Rwanda. The French had invested and a close relationship with the current leadership at the time in Kigali. That jaded their will and their support for it. These folks did directly trade weapons and profit on the genocide.
The French have tried people who has been involved in the Genocide in Rwanda. France have acted as a big-brother, but not acted righteous towards its own ends. They have been the paternal nation and with the current Duclert Report. The current leadership in Paris should make reconciliation and redeem its stature in Kigali. That is only fair knowing what their actions did and did assist the atrocities in Rwanda.
First dropping one statement from France24 to show what they found and what has been written in 1999 about the same thing.
French Reports states known facts:
“The report tells of French decision-makers trapped in “post-colonial” thinking who supported the “racist, corrupt and violent” regime of Habyarimana as he faced a Tutsi rebellion which many considered was directed from English-speaking Uganda. Mitterrand “maintained a strong, personal and direct relationship with the Rwandan head of state”, it said” (France24 – ‘’Blind’ France bears responsibility on Rwanda genocide, historical commission reports’ 26.03.2021).
French Involvement before the Genocide:
“The leaders of France and Rwanda also had very close family ties Mitterand of France and Habyarimana were friends, but their sons, Jean Christophe Mitterand and Jean Pierre Habyarirnana, were not only closer friends, but that friendship was consolidated further by business dealings. The two camps used political power in their countries in order to boost and protect their respective economic interests. The Rwanda Re-view(2:3,1993) ran a letter from Mitterand to Habyarimana, a letter that was not only both personal and official, but also talked about the interests of France in Rwanda. There is also an indication that Jean C. Mitterand was one of the biggest arms dealer in Rwanda. It was there-fore in the interest of France that there should be use for the arms France was ready to supply to Rwanda, arms that eventually ended in the arms of the hands of the extremist killers” (Joan Kakwenzire and Dixon Kamukama – ‘The Path of a Genocide – The Rwandan Crisis from Uganda to Zaire’, P.83, 1999).
With these two pieces. You see they say the same thing. They are connected. The Kakwenzire and Kamukama is also showing the benefits of the relations between the Heads of State. That the sons also had a favourable relations. They wouldn’t have done what they did. If it wasn’t beneficial and had positive outcome. These folks wouldn’t have worked together like they did.
Both Kigali and Paris had close communication. They were even trading arms ahead of the genocide. Certainly knowing what was brewing and had some foresight into the violence that could erupt. Not like they were dumb or had no knowledge.
Just as they had already done this as well ahead of the genocide:
“1991; March 15: The French ambassador to Rwanda, Georges Martres, informed Juvénal Habyarimana that the French Presidency had decided to put a thirty-man DAMI (detachment of troops for military assistance and training) at the Rwandan authorities’ disposal *(Lanotte, 2007: 144). It was named DAMI-Panda and was originally intended to stay four months on location, but in fact it remained in Rwanda until December 1993 *(Lanotte, 2007: 145). This deployment was not publicized by the French political and military authorities, or by their Rwandan counterparts *(Lanotte, 2007: 148)” (Viret Emmanuel – ‘Rwanda – A Chronology (1867-1994)’ 01.03.2010, SciencePro.fr)
So with this all in mind. The Duclert Report only re-affirm what we already knew. They are only stating facts that been out there and they have finally “found” it out themselves. If they will take more accountability and actually reflect it. That is a whole different ball-game.
For some of us. We knew the French was directly involved and supported the regime who did their part in the genocide in 1994. Clearly, with that knowledge. The French could have acted differently and not participated in the exports of arms. However, they only saw money and friendship with the Heads of State. It was business and pleasure. Which in the end was helping the demise of so many innocent civilians.
Now is not the time for empty statements, but direct action of the French to act upon their own findings, which many of us already knew. Peace.
Just two days ago an American Law Firm studied the Rwandan Genocide as they say it themselves: “In light of that inquiry, the Government of Rwanda has retained the Washington, D.C. law firm of Cunningham Levy Muse LLP to review and report on the material available in the public record on the role and knowledge of French officials regarding the Genocide against the Tutsi” (Cunningham Levy Muse, P: 3, 2017). This here is will be quotes from that report that is on the role of the French Government in the Rwandan Genocide. Clearly, there has been allegations and has been some talk about that, concerning the arms and the knowledge of it. This report are putting light on some of that. I will take the quotes that is substantial for the French intervention in the civil war and genocide in Rwanda.
“The expansion of France’s military support and strategic advice began within days of the war’s commencement. On October 11, 1990, Defense Attaché Colonel René Galinié recommended sending French advisers into the field, northeast of the combat zone, to “educate, organize and motivate troops that had been ossified for thirty years and who had forgotten the basic rules of battle.” (…) “In addition to advice, French officials supplied the FAR with modern mortars, armored vehicles, and other vehicles, along with ammunition and rockets. French officials also provided and helped maintain helicopter-gunships, which fired upon RPF fighters. According to jokes at the time, the only thing Rwandan soldiers did was pull the trigger” (Cunningham Levy Muse, P: 12-13, 2017).
“Massacres of Tutsi continued throughout 1991, 1992, and up until the Genocide. French officials were aware of massacres at this time, as well as the role of the Habyarimana government and its military in them. Despite this knowledge, French officials maintained their support of the Rwandan military and funneled weapons into Rwanda” (Cunningham Levy Muse, P: 20, 2017).
“Thus, in February 1993, after the Noroît detachment had just been reinforced . . . , the Army Chief of Staff reminded the defense attaché that he was responsible for “ensuring that the Rwandan army does not find itself in a stock shortage of sensitive ammunition . . . and that deliveries to the FAR of military equipment be made in the utmost discretion.” In fact, in the timeline laid down in his end of mission report, Colonel Philippe Tracqui, commander of the Noroît detachment for the period from February 8, 1993 to March 21, 1993, noted “Friday, February 12, 1993: landing of a DC8 50 with a 12.7mm machine gun plus 100,000 cartridges for the FAR. Wednesday, February 17, 1993: landing of a Boeing 747 with discrete unloading by the FAR of 10 mm shells and 68 mm rockets (Alat).” (Cunningham Levy Muse, P: 23, 2017).
“The French Parliamentary Commission accordingly found: Faced with procrastination by Rwandan authorities and concerned about the stability of states and regional security, France never made the decision to suspend all cooperation, or even to decrease the level of its civil and military aid. Thus, President Juvénal Habyarimana was able to convince himself that “France . . . would be behind him regardless of the situation, and he could do anything militarily and politically.” (Cunningham Levy Muse, P: 27, 2017).
“Arms flows to the FAR were not suspended immediately by France after the imposition of the arms embargo on May 17, 1994. Rather, they were diverted to Goma airport in Zaire as an alternative to Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, where fighting between the FAR and the rebel RPF as well as an international presence made continued shipments extremely difficult. Some of the first arms shipments to arrive
in Goma after May 17 were supplied to the FAR by the French government. Human Rights Watch learned from airport personnel and local businessmen that five shipments arrived in May and June containing artillery, machine guns, assault rifles and ammunition provided by the French government. These weapons were taken across the border into Rwanda by members of the Zairian military and delivered to the FAR in Gisenyi. The French consul in Goma at the time, Jean-Claude Urbano, has justified the five shipments as a fulfillment of contracts negotiated with the government of Rwanda prior to the arms embargo” (Cunningham Levy Muse, P: 39, 2017).
“Information in the public record also shows that in the months that followed the Genocide against the Tutsi French officials continued to support génocidaires. On August 3, 1994, the UN Secretary General suggested that the international community should coordinate with UNAMIR to identify within the camps perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi, with an eye to bringing them to justice. But instead, French soldiers escorted and released suspected génocidaires in Zaire. Between July and September 1994, French military helicopters evacuated Bagosora, along with Interahamwe leader Jean-Baptiste Gatete, and other ex-FAR troops and militia members, out of Goma” (…) “Finally, we urge the Government of Rwanda to seek France’s cooperation in this endeavor. To this end, France should make available its archives, documents, physical evidence and officials (current and former). Any investigation by the Government of Rwanda should evaluate what occurred in the 1990s, as well as what has happened since then, including France’s cooperation with this investigation into French complicity in the Genocide” (Cunningham Levy Muse, P: 48, 52, 2017).
This one collected lots of public information and put into account. This is damning evidence and not just random quotes from a mad-man, but from lawyers collected information as ordered by the Rwandan Government. The could have been done by the French, they might have given other insights and even transcripts we haven’t seen. Even as the Rwandan has and can get documentation on the actions during the genocide and before. Since the Rwandan Government wants closure and might want the French to answer for their crimes.
French President Francois Mitterrand at the time was loyal to President Juvenal Habyarimana, therefore wanted to stop the Rwandan Patriotic Front from overthrowing their man at any cost apperently. The French really showed it with the ammunition, training and also helping them flee with weapons to Zaire/Democratic Republic of Congo. Clearly, the French knew what they did and did it with a reason, as of they wanted someone loyal to them and also a weapons brother at any cost.
So the continued trouble of the Great Lakes Region has been created by the French as well. Since they let the Interahamwe and Ex-FAR leave with weapons in the refugee camps in the DRC. That has been an initial reason for violence since the 1990s. The French should step up and take responsibility for what they did and who they gave power to. Which also created this genocide. The PRF and President Paul Kagame did his part, the RPF is not a holy and non-violent movement who just brought peace. They also killed and took control. However, the French did aid and abide help to the other partner in the crime. Therefore, they are responsible for their part in this genocide. That shouldn’t be left alone and the stones should be turned, the ones sanction this and ordering this on behalf of Habyarimana and his government.
This report was compelling and it shows how disgraceful the French was and how they really wanted the dictator Habyirmana to continue to rule in Rwanda. Peace.
Cunningham Levy Muse LLP – ‘REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO THE GOVERNMENT OF RWANDA ON THE ROLE OF FRENCH OFFICIALS IN THE GENOCIDE AGAINST THE TUTSI’ (11.12.2017)