France Enabled 1994 Rwanda Genocide, Report Says

France Enabled 1994 Rwanda Genocide, Report Says

France Enabled 1994 Rwanda Genocide, Report Says

France Enabled 1994 Rwanda Genocide, Report Says

During a ceremony this month in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to mark the 27th anniversary of the genocide, President Paul Kagame praised the French report, saying it showed how “Rwandan lives were just pawns in geopolitical games.”

“We welcome this report because it marks an important step toward a common understanding of what took place,” Mr. Kagame said. “It shows the desire even for leaders in France to move forward with a good understanding of what happened.”

The report comes as Mr. Kagame faces increasing criticism abroad over his government’s handling of critics, including the continuing terrorism case against the former hotelier Paul Rusesabagina.

The Rwandan government in 2017 commissioned the Washington law firm Levy Firestone Muse to investigate France’s role in the genocide against the Tutsi. The firm’s report draws on a range of sources, including government reports, videos, documentaries, and interviews with more than 250 witnesses.

France and Rwanda have for years tussled over accounts of how the genocide transpired and the extent of French complicity. But relations have gradually started to thaw. In 2018, Mr. Macron backed Rwanda’s former foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo to lead the International Organization of La Francophonie, a coalition of French-speaking countries — a move that was widely seen as an effort to bolster relations with Kigali.

Mr. Kagame has also visited France at least three times since 2018, and French media have reported that Mr. Macron might visit Rwanda this year. Nicolas Sarkozy was the last French president to visit Rwanda, in 2010.

In recent years, several cases related to the genocide have surfaced in French courts.

Last May, Félicien Kabuga, who was accused of financing the genocide, was arrested in Paris after more than two decades on the run. In July, a French appeals court ended an investigation into the plane crash that killed Mr. Habyarimana, an event that set off the 1994 genocide and for which Mr. Kagame’s allies were blamed. And a Rwandan priest was arrested in France last week for his alleged role in aiding those who killed people in his church during the genocide.


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