Rwanda is expressing shock after France reportedly rejected a report, which suggests Paris' complicity in the 1994 genocide. Rwanda's government says it stands by the report, which it claims is the truth, denying that it is re-writing history. President Paul Kagame's government formally accused 33 French officials Tuesday of involvement in the genocide and called for them to face trial. Kigali 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 propping up 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. Paris says the independent Rwandan commission set up to investigate the 1994 genocide was biased. Rosemary Museminari is Rwanda's foreign minister. From the capital, Kigali she tells reporter Peter Clottey Paris should cooperate with Kigali in prosecuting those implicated in genocide.
"We would be very surprised by that rejection because the report puts out the truth and truth that has a lot of evidence to back it. So, if you read through the 500-page report, you would not only be able to see the role the different bodies played; whether it was the political levels, whether it was diplomatic levels, whether it was the military, so the report really gathered that information, and over time put out what has been said in different bits, by different writers, by different articles brought out in the open. So what the commission did was to get out there, pick all those reports, go down on the field and pick evidence from different people, and put it all together," Museminari pointed out.
She said it was unfortunate Paris rejects the report put together by the commission that investigated the 1994 genocide.
"So it is a surprise if France is denying it and we would be very interested to know what they are basing on denying the factual information that is out there in the report," she said.
Museminari denied Kigali was re-writing history with the recent report on the 1994 genocide.
"Rwanda is not trying to re-write history. What the report out there did was to put the truth out there, so I don't know if that is what re-writing history is," Museminari noted.
She said although the relationship between Kigali and Paris has not been the best, efforts are being made to normalize it.
"For us, we would be very much surprised by that because as you mentioned, relations between Kigali and Paris have not been the best. But we have been in a process of trying to normalize relations. President Kagame met President Sarkozy in Lisbon. After that, we had a visit from the minister of foreign affairs Kouchner. We have been having teams coming from Kigali, going to Paris to have discussions and vice versa. So, for us, we think those efforts should go on, and this should actually come and strengthen our process of moving forward based on the truth and based on the interest of our people," she said.
Museminari said there was need to normalize relations with Paris based on the plain truth.
"I think it would be wrong to build a relationship just whereby we sweep the truth underground. We think that the truth should actually be the foundation and basis over new revitalized relationship," Museminari pointed out.
She said Kigali hopes those complicit in the genocide would soon be prosecuted.
"We hope that they will be by different bodies, not necessarily only the International Criminal Court. But even by the domestic courts in different countries. Many countries are able to try people who are their nationals and who committed crimes. So, we should expect to see trials of these people implicated in the report," she said.
Meanwhile, Ibuka, an umbrella organization of Rwanda Genocide survivors has welcomedthe government's release of a report on the alleged role played by France in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. IBUKA president Theodore Simburudari reportedly said, "although what was released in the report was already known through writings, compiling the report is a sign of taking a step beyond political considerations".