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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid