Why France vigorously support Genocide fugitives

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Students during a past visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Kigali. File

Editor,

RE: “France should help bring Genocide perpetrators on its soil to justice” (The New Times, January 4).

As the writer so rightly states, France played an active and key role in the planning and execution of the Genocide against the Tutsi, which it didn’t even try too hard to disguise.

Among other things, it also midwifed the genocide’s interim Bagosora-Sindikubwabo-Kambanda government in its ambassador’s very official residence (an extremely rare occurrence in the annals of diplomacy).

Why, given this full-fledged accessory role, do people persist in thinking France would want to cooperate in bringing to justice its own close allies? For, to try them would in lots of ways be to try itself; an impossibility in the context of the principles of natural justice.

Paris has amply demonstrated what it thinks of such pleas by the repeated rulings of its Cour de cassation reversing decisions of lower courts to extradite Genocide suspects to Rwanda for trial on genocide charges, basing its rulings on the utterly ludicrously farcical claim that at the time those suspects committed those acts “genocide wasn’t a crime in Rwanda.”

In fact, Rwanda acceded to the 1948 Convention which seeks to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and peacetime on 16 April 1975, thus accepting the international legal obligations of that Convention.

France signed the Convention on 11 December 1948, and deposited its ratification of the Convention with the U.N. Secretary General on 14 October 1950. Thus the rulings of that country’s highest court of appeal fly in the face of legal reality, are transparently absurd and aim at defeating the course of justice, but are completely understandable in view of France’s complicity in the genocide.

Mwene Kalinda