published by President Paul Kagame's government, which accuses France of
complicity in Rwanda's 1994 genocide is reportedly receiving mixed reaction.
Opponents of President Kagame's government are questioning the timing of the
report after commissioners presented it to the government more than six months
ago. Some political analysts say the report would further worsen the
relationship between Kigali and Paris. Kagame's government has previously
accused Paris of covering up its role in training troops and militia who
carried out massacres that killed some 800,000 people, and of supporting the ethnic
Hutu leaders who orchestrated the slaughter.
France denies that and says
its forces helped protect people during a U.N.-sanctioned mission in Rwanda at
the time. Jean Bosco Gasasira is the editor of the Umuvugizi
Independent Newspaper in Rwanda. From the capital, Kigali he tells reporter
Peter Clottey that Rwandans say the report could worsen the already testy
relationship between Kigali and Paris.
"Rwandans are reacting in
two ways. Some are seeing the publishing of the report as long overdue because
the commission handed over the report to His Excellency Paul Kagame six months
ago. They were asking why the report wasn't published up till today and they
see the truth of the report, most especially showing deeply the role of France
in the Rwanda genocide. But on another side, some are seeing the publishing of
the report from a political point of view as pure politics because the report
commissioner was initiated after a French judge indicted about 14 Rwanda RUF
(Rwanda Patriotic Front) forces showing that they also committed war crimes.
But the report indicates that France had an upper hand in the genocide,"
Gasasira pointed out.
He said some Rwandans are
expressing worry about the deterioration of relations with France.
"Definitely, the relationship
would be hurt, but it is not even because of this report. I can even tell you
that since RUF was still fighting, France did not have a good relationship with
RUF. But even coming today, the relationship between France and the ruling
party is like a game of the cat and a rat. So, the relationship has not been
great, but the report could destroy the prevailing relationship that exists.
So, that is our worry, especially after this report," he said.
Gasasira said the government
is explaining to ordinary Rwandans why France was deeply involved in the
country's genocide, which led to the enormous loss of lives and property.
"The government is
explaining and bringing Rwandans far away and showing them what the French did
in the 1994 genocide in the southern part of the country, whereby the French
were behind what happened there. The government is trying to explain to the
entire population the military relationship between the former government and
the French. So the report is showing the French upper hand in the genocide,"
He said some Rwandans want
the report to be translated into other international languages.
"Definitely, there were some
politicians who were there, and some of the pro-government journalists were
calling upon the government to translate the report in international languages,
French and English, so that the report could be submitted to the Security
Council and the European parliament. This is a way pavement for indictment and
the way I see it is propaganda against the French government showing France's
upper hand in the genocide and the way they could be indicted," he said.
Rwanda's President Kagame cut ties with France two years ago after a
French judge's called for him to stand trial over the death of his predecessor
in April 1994, which is widely believed to have sparked the country's genocide.
The call for Kagame to stand trial reportedly prompted street protests in
Kigali. Relations soured further after the Rwandan commission later heard
accounts from victims who said French soldiers raped them after seeking refuge
with them during the genocide.