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France, according to report ‘largely responsible’ for genocide of Rwanda | NOW

France was largely responsible for the genocide in Rwanda, but not complicit in the genocide in the country, a committee of historians concluded in a report released Friday. The Rwandan genocide in 1994 killed more than 800,000 people in just a few months.

Investigators note that France had a “serious and overwhelming” responsibility, noting the central role of then President François Mitterrand. He had close ties with the former president of Rwanda Juvénal Habyarimanam, a Hutu. His death in 1994 resulted in the genocide.

France would have been ‘blind’ to preparations for the massacres, the researchers conclude. According to them, Paris has failed to prevent the mass murder of the Tutsi minority and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.

The country previously acknowledged that “political mistakes” had been made, but denied responsibility for the genocide.

The historians conducted the investigation at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron. They were given access to the presidential, diplomatic and military archives for their research. They could also view those of the intelligence services. Principal investigator Vincent Duclert presented the report to Macron in the Elysée on Friday.

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The report could ease tensions between France and Rwanda. Rwanda has long accused the French of complicity in the genocide. “We hope the report can lead to new developments in our relations with Rwanda and that the process of rapprochement is irreversible,” said Macron.

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