Home News Rwanda leader again blasts France over genocide

Rwanda leader again blasts France over genocide

Published on 25/03/2004

KIGALI, March 25 (AFP) - Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday poured scorn on France's recent claim of having saved hundreds of thousands of lives during the 1994 genocide in the central African state.

“Yes, they saved some people, but they saved those who were killing not those who were being killed,” Kagame told a news conference, adding that he was considering setting up a commission of enquiry to look into the role of various parties in the genocide.

The runup to the 10th anniversary of the genocide – which was unleashed in April 1994 and ended 100 days and up to a million deaths later – has prompted a series of mutual accusations between Paris and Kigali.

On March 16, Kagame said France “supplied weapons, they gave orders and instructions to the perpetrators of genocide,” soldiers and militia forces backed by the then Hutu majority government.

Two days later, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin insisted that French soldiers had saved “several hundred thousand lives” during the killings.He was referring to a contingent of French troops sent to Rwanda in the summer of 1994 under a United Nations mandate.

Kigali has long claimed that these forces helped perpetrators of the genocide flee to neighbouring Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo).

“We cannot continue to pretend that we don’t know the facts related to the involvement of French here in Rwanda before, during and after the genocide.

These are facts,” Kagame told Thursday’s news conference.

“We might set up a commission to investigate the responsibilities of different people in the genocide, mainly foreigners… That might include shedding more light on such a case,” he said.

Earlier this month, Le Monde newspaper reported that a French police investigation had found Kagame personally responsible for the assassination of his predecessor Juvenal Habyarimana, whose death in a rocket attack on his aeroplane in April 1994 triggered the massacres.

The Rwandan government has strongly denied the allegation that Kagame, who at the time led a mainly Tutsi rebel movement – which went on to seize Kigali and put an end to the massacres in July 1994 – was the “decision-maker” behind the missile attack.


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