Franco-Rwandan rebuff: 25 years after the turquoise operation | Africa | -

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It was 25 years ago. On June 22, 1994, the UN gives France the go-ahead for the Turquoise beaten humanitarian operation while massacres take place in the country. A poem still contested that will not prevent genocide and still leaves traces today between the two countries.

As early as 1994, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, the party of the current Rwandan President Paul Kagame, ensured that there were close links between the French army and the old guard of the Hutu regime, including many genocidaires who had escaped from the country. French protection zone to neighboring Zaire, the present Democratic Republic of Congo.

Recent reconciliation

The Rwandan Patriotic Front will eventually seize Kigali and power in July 1994, after the genocide. Subsequently, diplomatic relations between Paris and Kigali have deteriorated considerably. But in recent years, the two capitals have come together. French President Emmanuel Macron was invited to the opening ceremony of the commemorations this year of the 25th anniversary of the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Finally, Emmanuel Macron did not make the trip in April and was represented by the young French deputy of Rwandan origin, Hervé Berville.

Frankreich Präsident Emmanuel Macron and Paul Kagame, Präsident Ruanda (Reuters / C. Hartmann)

The French and Rwandan Presidents in 2018 in Paris

Commission of Experts on Genocide in France

Olivier Nduhungirehe, Secretary of State at the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, sees no new blockage in the bilateral relations between the two countries. "It's not a problem, he has validly represented his president," believes there.

"Most importantly, Franco-Rwandan relations have had a fresh start at different levels, and we will continue to work to improve these relations, paying particular attention to some of the issues we are working on."
In early April, President Macron appointed a commission of experts to examine the archives relating to the period of the genocide in Rwanda.

A concession appreciated by Rwanda and for which the country offered its cooperation. But the wounds did not close.

"The operation Turquoise protected the escape of the perpetrators of the genocide when it was almost finished.This allowed them to escape to Zaire.We here, we speak mainly of France and the role of France since the commission was appointed by the French president because there is a problem related to the fact that France intervened in Rwanda by supporting the genocidal regime before, during and after the genocide ", Explain Olivier Nduhungirehe.

But is it enough to better understand the role of France? Or should we not reconsider the involvement of other actors? This is at least the opinion of former Rwandan diplomat and politician Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana. He was Rwanda's ambassador to Paris from 1990 to 1994. And when the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) of Paul Kagame took power in Kigali, he became the first foreign minister of the new government. Later, Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana went into exile in France.

"It is very important to know more about France's involvement in the conflict between the RPF and the government of former President Juvenal Habyarimana", Ndagijimana believes.

"But France is not the only country to be involved in the Rwandan genocide.It would be necessary to investigate the support that Tutsi rebels received from Uganda, but also from Britain and the United States. The RPF had modern weapons, and it was necessary to know who helped the government and the RPF, why it happened and to what extent it was legitimate. " explains Ndagijimana

Ruanda Völkermord Gedenkstätte (Picture-Alliance / DPA / S. Morrison)

Rwanda Genocide Memorial

Independent experts

Nine experts now have access to French archives that have been closed for 25 years. The majority of them are historians and researchers on the genocide. "The work of the Commission is a good opportunity to activate this network of experts. The Commission will work at two levels: it will listen to a number of experts and then present its work to these experts, to this committee ", explains Vincent Duclert, Director of the Commission, an expert on genocide in Armenia. The results of the commission will be published and certain archival documents made available to the public. Vincent Duclert hopes that this will help to better understand the role of France in Rwanda.

Erratum: In our previous article (Friday 21.06.19), we attribute the words of Mr. Olivier Nduhungirehe, to the former ambassador of Rwanda in France, Mr. Jean-Marie Vianney Ndagijimana. We apologize to him.

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