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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs