Relations between Rwanda and France since the genocide

8th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Here is a chronology of relations between France and Rwanda since the 1994 genocide in the central African country, ahead of a visit to Paris by President Paul Kagame next week.

- April 6, 1994: Rwanda's Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana is killed when his aircraft is shot down over Kigali.

- April 7: The genocide starts. From April to July, according to the United Nations, some 800,000 are killed, most of them members of the Tutsi minority, as well as moderate Hutus.

Some 500 French paratroopers evacuate more than 1,000 French and foreigners.

- June 22: The United Nations gives France the green light for operation Turquoise, a military operation in Rwanda with humanitarian ends.

- December 15, 1998: A French parliamentary mission exonerates France from involvement in the genocide but says it bears some responsibility due to strategic error and "institutional disfunction". Rwanda accuses France of being guilty of genocide in the country.

- November 17, 2006: French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere recommends Kagame, a Tutsi, be prosecuted by the UN-backed tribunal trying Rwanda's genocide suspects for suspected participation in Habyarimana's assassination. On the 22, he signs nine arrest warrants against Kagame's aides.

- November 24: Rwanda breaks off all diplomatic relations with France.

- December 8, 2007: French President Nicolas Sarkozy meets Kagame on the sidelines of the EU-Africa summit and says that ties are beginning to normalise.

- August 5, 2008: A report by the Rwandan committee of inquiry accuses France of having actively taken part in the genocide.

- November 29, 2009: Paris and Kigali re-establish diplomatic relations.

- January 7, 2010: The Rwandan report into the Habyarimana assassination blames extremist Hutus.

- February 25: Sarkozy acknowledges that France made mistakes during the genocide and pays homage to the victims, but stops short of apologising during his landmark visit to Kigali.

March 2011: The appointment of Alain Juppe as French foreign minister, a post he already held during the genocide, leads to a renewal of political tension between Kigali and Paris.

© 2011 AFP

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