News / Africa

French Probe Seemingly Clears Rwanda's Kagame in Genocide Events

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) welcomes his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame as he arrives at the Elysee palace in Paris, September 12, 2011.
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) welcomes his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame as he arrives at the Elysee palace in Paris, September 12, 2011.
Lisa Bryant

A new French report appears to erase suspicions that Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his associates triggered the events leading to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Previous accusations froze French-Rwandan ties that only recently have warmed up.

Commissioned by two French investigating judges, the report apparently dismisses a central French accusation behind the Rwandan genocide about the origins of a 1994 missile that destroyed a plane carrying Rwanda's then-president Juvenile Habyarimana. The plane crash helped trigger the genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800,000 people.

A previous French judge, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, concluded the missile had been fired by rebels led by current Rwandan President Paul Kagame. But at a news conference in Paris on Wednesday, lawyers for the Rwandan defendants say a new probe by French judges concludes the missile was fired from the base of Habyarimana's own soldiers.

"It means the camp controlled by the Hutu power, the extremists and genociders - it's from there that the missiles were shot to the plane," said Belgian lawyer Bernard Maingain. "And it's clearly explained with all the arguments justifying their position and I think nobody is able to go against that."

Ongoing probe of findings

The report has not yet been made public, and not everyone agrees with Mangain's interpretation. The judges are giving three months for parties in the investigation to react to its findings. It appears to be a U-turn from Bruguiere's conclusions, though, which prompted Kigali to break off diplomatic ties with France.  

Rwanda also accused France of playing an indirect role in the genocide. Relations between the two countries have since thawed, with leaders of both countries trading visits.

Rwanda's ambassador to France, Jacques Kabale, said he hopes the findings will prompt a reassessment by French officials still suspicious of President Kagame.

Rwanda tries to advance

Kabale said clearing those suspicions is long overdue because Rwanda is looking ahead,  focusing on reconstruction and national reconciliation, not back.

Pierre Cherruau, managing editor of the online publication Slate Afrique, agrees the findings will likely improve French-Rwandan ties - as both countries seek to build new alliances.

"France starts to have new friends outside French-speaking Africa, and at the same time Kigali is trying to do the same because the relationship between Kigali and Washington and London are becoming less good because human rights are not so well respected in Kigali," said Cherruau. "And Kigali needs to have new friends and to become closer with the French government."

During a visit to Rwanda in 2010, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France had made "grave errors in judgement" regarding the 1994 genocide, but stopped short of apologizing for his nation's failure to prevent the killings.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid