Tuesday, August 05, 2008

France Participated in Genocide Charges Rwanda

For almost 100 days in 1994, Rwandans of the Tutsi and Hutu tribes killed one another in the most horrific and personal manner. The organized killings of 500,000 - 1,000,000 people by machete, AK-47, burning was carried out primarily by two Hutu militias the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi. During that time, French soldiers have been accused of rape and murder by a Rwandan commission.

There was an existing civil war by the time of the genocide that had been fought hot and cold for several years. There had been a peace settlement that appeared to be genuine and refugees began returning to Rwanda. This caused more strain than the new treaty and the two tribes could bear and violence flared again. During the civil war, the governing Hutu were supported by French speaking Africa and some said directly by France. The Tutsis were supported by Uganda.

With the return of civil war, and support by the French for the Hutu factions and French membership on the UN Security Council, the violence was too much for the United Nations to handle. And that was on top of their normal incompetence and dithering. Despite the delaying actions of the French in the UN and the total blindness of the Clinton administration, the invading Tutsi rebel forces, Rwandan Patriotic Front, routed the Hutu army and militias.

Now, after having prosecuted their own, Rwanda is going after the French instigators, supporter, and participants.

France took part in 1994 genocide: Rwandan report

KIGALI (AFP) — France played an active role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, a report unveiled Tuesday by the Rwandan government said, naming French political and military officials it says should be prosecuted.

The damning report accused a raft of top French politicians of involvement in the massacres, threatening to further mar relations between the two countries, which severed diplomatic ties in November 2006.

"French forces directly assassinated Tutsis and Hutus accused of hiding Tutsis... French forces committed several rapes on Tutsi survivors," said a justice ministry statement released after the report was presented in Kigali.

The 500-page report alleged that France was aware of preparations for the genocide, contributed to planning the massacres and actively took part in the killing.

It named former French prime minister Edouard Balladur, former foreign minister Alain Juppe and then-president Francois Mitterrand, who died in 1996, among 13 French politicians accused of playing a role in the massacres.

Dominique de Villepin, who was then Juppe's top aide and later became prime minister, was also among those listed in the Rwandan report.

The report names 20 military officials as being responsible.

France refused to comment directly on the report's findings, saying the inquiry had lacked legitimacy or impartiality.

A Defence Ministry spokesman instead referred reporters to the government's position as set out in a statement from February 2007.

That original statement declared that the Rwandan inquiry had no "independence or impartiality" because its stated remit was to "gather evidence of the involvement of the French state" in the Rwandan genocide.

The inquiry, it stated, had "no legitimacy nor competence" to conduct interviews on French soil because it had broken off diplomatic relations with France in November 2006.

France has acknowledged making "mistakes" in Rwanda but denies any responsibility for the killing spree.

The 1994 genocide in the central African nation left around 800,000 people -- mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus -- dead, according to the United Nations.

"The overwhelming nature of France's support to the Rwandan policy of massacres... shows the complicity of French political and military officials in the preparation and execution of the genocide," the statement said.

Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama presented the report to the press in Kigali, more than two years after a special commission tasked with probing France's role in the genocide began its work.

The statement said the military and humanitarian Operation Turquoise carried out by the French in Rwanda between June and August 1994 abetted the killings perpetrated by the extremist Interahamwe Hutu militia.

The French military "did not challenge the infrastructure of genocide, notably the checkpoints manned by the Interahamwes.

"They clearly requested that the Interahamwes continue to man those checkpoints and kill Tutsis attempting to flee," the statement added.

"Considering the seriousness of the alleged crimes, the Rwandan government has urged the relevant authorities to bring the accused French politicians and military officials to justice," the statement said.

Karugarama hinted that Rwanda could launch a legal challenge against some of the officials named in the report.

The release of the report comes against a backdrop of tense relations between France and Rwanda.

Kigali severed diplomatic ties with France after French investigating magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere accused Kagame and his entourage of involvement in the death of the then president, Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu.

Habyarimana's plane was shot down above Kigali airport on April 6, 1994, sparking the genocide.

In July, Kagame had threatened to indict French nationals over the genocide if European courts did not withdraw arrest warrants issued against Rwandan officials.
The charges should not surprise anyone. France has been involved mass killings and genocides more than a few times. Most of France were willing participants in the Holocaust during WWII. The French-Algerian War saw many mass killings by French military personnel. Even in France itself, French authorities ere not reticent to the use of extreme violence. On Oct. 17, 1961, some 200 Algerians were killed in the streets of Paris with bodies dumped in the Seine.

The French envoy to Algeria said last April that the time had come for France to fess up to it's own "horrific massacres" during its colonial rule. It wasn't much, but it's start.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Mike's America said...

Oh those naughty French persons!

Why is it that they are always caught raping Africans?

This isn't the first time such allegations have been made.

Indigo Red said...

No, it isn't the first time the French have been accused of such behavior. Because of movies, most people associate scalping with American Indians. Before the French, Indians didn't take scalps. France paid the Indians for every enemy scalp presented with modern weaponry and other goodies. There is something in French philosophy that allows for brutality amidst civilization.

I think, though, the answer to your question, Mike, lies in the words of the French answer, "The inquiry ... had "no legitimacy nor competence" to conduct interviews on French soil..." And the "inquiry had lacked legitimacy or impartiality."

No legitimacy, no competence, no impartialty. It's the racism of low expectation. The French simply do not believe the dark skinned people are or can be legitimate, competent, and impartial. They remain Rousseau's 'noble savage' with an emphasis on savage.