Govt defends Mucyo probe against new French lawsuit

KIGALI - The Rwandan Government has said that it is not deterred by a recent lawsuit filed by ten French army officers implicated by an independent commission in their role in the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis.
 Information Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo.
Information Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo.

KIGALI - The Rwandan Government has said that it is not deterred by a recent lawsuit filed by ten French army officers implicated by an independent commission in their role in the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis.

Reacting to the lawsuit, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in Charge of Information, Louise Mushikiwabo said that the report was professionally compiled.

“Despite their allegations, we are 100 percent behind the authenticity of these findings because they are based on testimonies, some even by French nationals,” said the Minister, who is also the spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda.

Ten senior French officers Tuesday petitioned a Paris-based court against Rwanda saying that the report, commonly known as the Mucyo Report had defamed them. 

The officers include General Jean-Claude Lafourcade who commanded Operation Turquoise, an operation by French soldiers which is widely responsible for participating in massacres that took place in both the western and southern parts of the country.

Operation Turquoise is also responsible for creating an escape corridor for the Interahamwe militias as they fled en masse to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

“How come they are reacting on this particular report when there are several publications that have persistently indicated their role in the Genocide? We have had many books and documentaries implicating them,” she emphasised.

The books she cited included one by British journalist Andrew Wallis, whose book Silent Accomplice: The Untold Story of France’s Role in the Rwandan Genocide, which details the role by French soldiers in the Tutsi Genocide that left over a million people dead.

“There is also a report compiled by their own parliament and it also implicates them. We are really not worried by these petitions…that court should look at those other publications,” she said.

She added that the lawsuit will not discourage the judicial authorities who are analysing the criminal responsibilities of the people implicated in the report for a possible legal redress.

“We have no problem with France as a country but the people implicated should answer,” Mushikiwabo said by telephone.

In total, 33 people, including 13 senior politicians and 20 military officials were implicated as having had a direct role in the Genocide.

The Mucyo Report which was compiled by a seven-man commission that was presided over by former Minister of Justice, Jean de Dieu Mucyo, did the work in a period of 18 months and the findings were made public on August 5 this year.

The findings were based on testimonies, most of which were obtained through public hearings and several documents.

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