France And Rwanda: Ghosts Of Genocide Rattle Relations
Umer Jamshaid 22 days ago Mon 19th April 2021 | 07:42 PM
France and Rwanda have had a stormy relationship since the 1994 genocide in the African nation
Here is a timeline of their fraught relations.
- 1990: French go in - Rwanda's Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana calls for help from France and former colonial power Belgium to fight off Ugandan-based rebels from the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Rwanda's current president, Paul Kagame.
Some 500 French paratroopers evacuate more than 1,000 French citizens and foreigners.
The mainly Tutsi RPF accuses France of seeking to save the Hutu regime and the perpetrators of the slaughter.
Some 2,500 French soldiers create a safe humanitarian zone in the south west, effectively hindering the RPF's advance but also allowing fleeing genocide suspects to hide.
- 1998: French probe - A French parliamentary mission exonerates France from involvement in the genocide in December, but says it bears some responsibility due to strategic errors and "institutional dysfunction".
Rwanda insists France is guilty of genocide crimes.
- 2006: Relations broken off - French judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere recommends President Kagame be prosecuted by the UN-backed tribunal trying Rwanda's genocide suspects for suspected participation in Habyarimana's assassination.
He signs nine arrest warrants for Kagame's aides.
Kagame again accuses France of "participating" in the genocide.
In December French judges drop a long-running investigation into the killing of Habyarimana.
The probe had been a major source of tension between the two countries after seven people close to Kagame were charged.
In March this year a historical commission set up by Macron concludes in a damning report that France bears overwhelming responsibilities over the genocide and was "blind" to preparations for the massacres.
Kagame welcomes the report as an important step and says he is ready for a new phase in ties with France.
In April, a report commissioned by Kigali said France "was an indispensable collaborator in building the institutions that would become instruments of the genocide.""And still, it has not yet acknowledged that role or atoned for it," the report stated.