France’s complicity in the Rwandan genocide is marked every year on April 7 on the UN-designated International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.
France supported the Hutus, an ethnic group which committed the 100 days of slaughter in Rwanda in 1994. At least 800,000 ethnic Tutsis were killed, according to the UN.
On June 23, France launched Operation Turquoise as French soldiers entered southwestern Rwanda to set up a humanitarian safe zone for refugees.
But instead of preventing the genocide, France provided military support for the perpetrators of the genocide.
France also provided diplomatic, political and military support to the Hutus, according to revealed documents.
One of the most important sources that shed light on the role of France in the Rwandan genocide are the archives of then President Francois Mitterrand.
Access to these archives was blocked for a long time.
But as a result of the legal struggle of Francois Graner, research director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the block was lifted and experts have been working on the archives for almost a year.
According to Graner, these archives confirm that France has been extensively supporting the perpetrators before and after the genocide.
Report submitted to Macron
A report prepared by the commission on France’s complicity in the Rwandan genocide was presented to President Emmanuel Macron on March 26.
Vincent Duclert, the head of the commission established at Macron’s request, pointed to the traces of the colonialism in the politics of the French authorities regarding the Rwandan genocide.
It added that Francois Mitterrand, former president of France, had a close relationship with then government that committed the genocide in 1994.
The archives also include a diplomatic telegraph which shows France ordered the Hutu-led government to flee from the area under the control of the French army. This order was given by France’s then Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.
It shows that France allowed those who committed the genocide against the ethnic Tutsis to escape.
Moreover, some experts and lawyers state that France also allowed some Hutus to enter the country while granting some of them French citizenship.
France’s complicity in genocide
Although experts agree that France did not directly participate in the Rwandan genocide, they also see the support it provided to the Hutus as “complicity”.
Graner, the researcher who worked on the archives, previously told Anadolu Agency that there are three elements to show complicity in a genocide, which are “supporting the perpetrators, being aware of their actions, and having an impact on the crime”.
All of the archives and documents contain these three elements, he added.
Also, France has been the only country to accept the representatives of the government that committed the genocide. In April 1994, two Rwandan representatives were hosted at the Elysee Palace, the Prime Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.