Africa We Want


President Emmanuel Macron believes France and its Western and African allies “could have stopped” the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, but lacked the will to halt the slaughter of an estimated at more than one million victims, mostly ethnic Tutsis, the presidency has said. By Melissa Chemam with RFI

Macron expressed the view in a video message to be published on Sunday to mark the 30th anniversary of the genocide, which was carried out by Hutu extremists and lasted 100 days.

He will not be travelling to Rwanda to attend commemorations in Kigali alongside President Paul Kagame.

France will instead be represented by Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné.

Macron’s message will emphasise that “when the phase of total extermination against the Tutsis began, the international community had the means to know and act”, a French presidential official said, asking not to be named.

The president believes that at the time, the international community already had historical experience of witnessing genocide with the Holocaust in World War II and the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey during World War I.

Macron will say that “France, which could have stopped the genocide with its Western and African allies, did not have the will” to do so, the official added.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the Presidential Palace in Kigali, Rwanda, on 27 May 2021.

’One more step’

Macron had already recognised France’s “responsibilities” in the genocide during a visit to Rwanda in 2021 – adding only the survivors could grant “the gift of forgiveness”.

Since he was elected in 2017, Macron commissioned a report on France’s role before and during the genocide and ordered the country’s archives to be opened to the public.

The Ibuka France association, which brings together survivors of then genocide living in France, said Macon’s message was an “important step”.

Its president, the historian Marcel Kabanda, told RFI: “It is reassuring for us to go to the 30th commemoration with this declaration.”

Kabanda also called on France to go further by apologising to the victims of this genocide, and open the way to reparations – even if only through a symbolic gesture.

French historian Vincent Duclert, who chaired the commission responsible for shedding light on the role of France in Rwanda between 1990 and 1994, told RFI that Macron’s speech was an example of ongoing efforts to recognised what happened.

He said France, which had military forces on the ground in Rwanda, could have intervened in April 1994.

The troops and other western troops had “all the means to do so” and organise “evacuation operations”, he told RFI.

“This is the way to resolve past traumas.”

Author: MANZI


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