Rwanda accuses France directly over '94 genocide

The latest allegations from Kigali came on Tuesday with the publication of the report by an independent Rwandan commission set up to investigate France's role in the bloodshed.

Rwanda accuses France directly over '94 genocide
Rwanda announced that France's alleged role in the genocide by a formal report.

Rwanda formally accused senior French officials on Tuesday of involvement in its 1994 genocide and called for them to be put on trial.

The three-volume scathing report was unveiled by the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, who was flanked by Louise Mushikiwabo, Information Minister. Hundreds of people thronged the Ministry of Justice conference room to hear the findings.

The so-called 'Mucyo Commission' report names former French President Francois Mitterand, his son Jean Christophe Mitterand and several members of his cabinet as well as senior military officials as among those who should be held responsible for the slaughter of over a million people in 1994.

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.

Survivors of Srebrenica genocide was also declared a U.N. safe haven and guarded by a Dutch army unit serving as part of a United Nations force, but it was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic on July 11, 1995. More than 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred.

"Dutch battalion members in Srebrenica in the Dutch base expelled my family and handed them over to the Serbs. I saw it with my own eyes," said Hasan Nuhanovic, an interpreter with the United Nations. He said he was allowed to remain inside the base because he had a U.N. identity card.

The latest allegations from Kigali came on Tuesday with the publication of the report by an independent Rwandan commission set up to investigate France's role in the bloodshed.

French soldiers were involved in assassination of Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis. French soldiers committed many rapes against Tutsi women survivors.

These sexual abuses particularly targeting Tutsi women survivors were systematic; in other words, frequent, tolerated and a product of the standards and practices of the institution to which the men who committed them belonged," says the hard-hitting report.

"The French support was of a political, military, diplomatic and logistic nature," the report said.

"Considering the gravity of the alleged facts, the Rwandan government asks competent authorities to undertake all necessary actions to bring the accused French political and military leaders to answer for their acts before justice."

Attached to the report was a list of 33 accused French political and military officials.

France's alleged role in the genocide heard testimonies from genocide survivors, researchers, writers and reporters.

The 500-page document was presented to the government last November, but has not yet been made public.

Karugarama was hedgy on whether they would institute criminal proceedings against those named in the report, but observers think that will be the next course of action.

"This is a report of inquiry; it is not a criminal file. It is not a statement of guilt but on the basis of this report, other things can follow," said the minister.

"We do not want to use this report as a comprehensive statement of guilt. You will see in this report a list of high ranking personalities who are implicated in this report, both in the political establishment and the military," he revealed.

Last week, President Paul Kagame told a press conference in Kigali that Rwanda had strong evidence implicating France's role.

French officials were not immediately available to comment.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame cut ties with France in November 2006 in protest at a French judge's call for him to stand trial over the death of his predecessor in April 1994 -- an event widely seen as unleashing the genocide.

But relations between Paris and the former rebel commander had improved in recent months.

Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Ağustos 2008, 15:31
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