KIGALI - Ibuka, an umbrella organisation of Rwanda Genocide survivors has welcomed the government’s release of a report on the alleged role played by France in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
“Although what was released in the report was already known through writings, compiling the report is a sign of taking a step beyond political considerations,” IBUKA president, Theodore Simburudari, told The New Times yesterday by phone.
A three-volume report on the complicity of France in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide was Tuesday made public by the Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama.
The ‘Mucyo Commission’ report names former French President Francois Mitterand, his son Jean Christophe Mitterand and several members of his cabinet as well as senior military officials among those who should be held responsible for the slaughter of over a million people in 1994.
The 500-page report which took over a year-and-a-half to compile, singles out 20 French military and 13 political figures it says have a solid criminal case to answer. It sums up the role played by France prior, during and after the Genocide.
He continued to say that the high ranking personalities who are implicated in the report are still alive, and so, will be put to shame for the crimes they committed.
“But merely releasing the report is not good enough; the report should be used to help justice. It would be a waste of efforts if the report was kept without taking action,” Simburudari proposed.
He, however, noted that not all Frenchmen are bad, there are some who even help to show the role played by the French in the Genocide.
“We will work with French nationals who are against the Genocide to make a follow-up since we also have the right as people who lost our loved ones,” Simburudari argued.
“Some French even want to know and make their children and the coming generation know how their taxes are used,” Simburudari explained.
He added that survivors of the Genocide would also like the government to carry out investigations to know the role of the Catholic Church, the UN and several other institutions and authorities in the 1994 Genocide.
The government commissioned the report in early 2006 when it set up an independent commission of inquiry led by former Minister of Justice, Jean de Dieu Mucyo. Karugarama was earlier hedgy on whether they would institute criminal proceedings against those named in the report.
However, observers think that will be the next course of action. “This is a report of inquiry; it is not a criminal file. It is not a statement of guilt but on the basis of this report, other things can follow,” said the minister at the launch of the report.
“We do not want to use this report as a comprehensive statement of guilt. You will see in this report a list of high ranking personalities who are implicated in this report, both in the political establishment and the military,” he revealed.
Among the accusations against the French was that they not only gave material and diplomatic support to the genocidal forces, they also took part in the killings and mass rape of Tutsi refugees.