France urges judges to drop case over involvement of troops in Rwanda massacre – fr

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France urges judges to drop case over involvement of troops in Rwanda massacre – fr


Paris prosecutors, who opened an investigation in 2005, are asking judges to drop the case accusing the French armed forces of complicity in the 1994 Rwandan genocide after their investigation concluded that the troops had no role in the massacre of Tutsis.

Rwandan genocide survivor Dimitrie Sissi Mukanyiligira looks at photos of her siblings killed during the genocide as she takes part in a Reuters interview in Kigali, Rwanda, May 18, 2020 (Reuters)

Paris prosecutors have asked judges to drop a case accusing senior officials of the French armed forces of complicity in a massacre of Tutsis during the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

The call to drop the 15-year-old’s case on Monday came after a major report in March on France’s role in the genocide.

Survivors of the June 1994 massacre in the hills of Bisesero, western Rwanda, accused French troops of deliberately abandoning them to Hutu militants who, within days, had murdered hundreds of people in the region.

The press release specifies that the Paris prosecutors concluded that the investigation “did not establish that the French forces could have been guilty of the crimes of complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity”.

The investigation did not confirm that there had been “aid or assistance from the French military forces during the carrying out of the atrocities”, declared the chief prosecutor of Paris, Rémy Heitz.

Nor has it established that the French forces “refrained from intervening in the face of genocide or crimes against humanity because of a prior agreement”.

READ MORE:
“Blind” France owes the blame for the genocide to Rwanda

What do the survivors of the massacre say?

The criminal investigation for complicity in genocide was opened by prosecutors in December 2005 following complaints filed by survivors and human rights groups.

The final decision on whether to proceed with the case rests with the investigating judges.

They are now very likely to drop the case unless a further investigation is ordered, a source close to the investigation said, asking not to be named.

The five French soldiers targeted by the investigation have never been charged.

Survivors of the massacre claimed that France, which backed the Hutu government of the day, used the UN-backed Turquoise peacekeeping mission as a front in an attempt to keep the regime in place, as a buffer against English-speaking Tutsi rebels.

READ MORE: Diplomatic cable reveals France’s direct role in Rwandan genocide

France, a ‘collaborator’ of the genocidal regime

In March, a historic French report by historians concluded that Paris bore “grave and crushing” responsibility for the massacre of around 800,000 people between April and July 1994, mostly Tutsis belonging to a minority.

About 50,000 people were killed alone in the region of Bisesero, considered a haven of Tutsi resistance.

A Rwandan report published in mid-April went further than the French report, calling France a “collaborator” of the genocidal Hutu regime.

Neither of them, however, found any evidence that France was complicit in the genocide.

Between April and July 1994, some 800,000 people were killed, most of them belonging to the Tutsi ethnic minority, but also moderate Hutus.

Since the genocide, critics of France’s role have said that the French president at the time, François Mitterrand, had failed to prevent the massacres or even supported the Hutus-led regime.

READ MORE: France has too much blood on its hands to face the truth
Source: AFP

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