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France denies involvement in 1994 Rwandan genocide

Article published on the 2008-08-05 Latest update 2008-08-07 14:41 TU

Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama(Photo:S. Maupas/RFI )

Rwandan Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama
(Photo:S. Maupas/RFI )

Following Rwanda's publication of a report on Tuesday, France has denied allegations that it was involved in the country's 1994 genocide. Paris said the findings could not be called "independent or legitimate". The report, by a Rwandan investigation commission, names French politicians and military officials it says should be prosecuted.

Among those named are former French prime ministers Dominique de Villepin and Edouard Balladur, former Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and then-president Francois Mitterrand.

According to the UN, some 800,000 people, mainly minority Tutsis and Hutus who opposed the killings, died during this genocide.

Rwanda's Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama presented the report to the press in Kigali this afternoon, more than two years after the special commission began its work. He told RFI that his government is asking the relevant authorities to take all necessary action to bring the accused to justice. 

"The overwhelming nature of France's support to the Rwandan policy of massacres...shows the complicity of French political and military officials in the preparation and execution of the genocide," said Karugarama.


Kigali Freddy Mutuguha of Ibuka, an organisation of survivors of the genocide, told RFI that the report was important for the survivors so that justice "be done for everyone - not just Africans - and that everyone be judged".

"It's not only Rwandans, but also the French people", he explained. 

He said that "everybody who was involved in these killings has to be responsible for what they did" and that "It would be wonderful to listen the reaction of the French government - we are waiting for it".

He said the survivors hoped to see France acknowledge its involvement and ask for forgiveness.