Kwibuka26: How France knew Habyarimana was planning Genocide but continued support

The National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) on Monday, May 4, revealed how France was aware that the Habyarimana regime in 1994 was planning a genocide, but continued to support it.

It is also clear, the Commission notes, that the government at the time had a plan to exterminate the Tutsi based on military support from the French.


The French government support, as noted, gave the genocidal regime an opportunity to continue the massacre of Tutsi civilians and to improve their plan to exterminate them.


"France continued to support Sindikubwabo’s government, the military and diplomacy to allow them to hide the massacre of Tutsi which was taking place. This support strengthened the killers, and they continued to kill," reads part of a CNLG media brief about events on May 4, 26 years ago.


"However, if France had discontinued its support towards the criminal government, some Tutsi who had managed to defend themselves like in Bisesero would have survived."

On May 4, 1994, President Theodore Sindikubwabo had an extended telephone conversation with Gen Christian Quesnot, who was the Special Military Adviser to the President of France, Francois Mitterrand. The conversation focused on the nature of the war between the RPF-Inkotanyi and former Rwandan government forces (Ex-FAR).

As noted, Quesnot promised Sindikubwabo the continuation of French support to the Rwandan government during the Genocide against the Tutsi.

On May 6, 1994, Quesnot issued a statement in support of Habyarimana's military "despite the fact they were committing genocide."

It is also noted that Quesnot and Bruno Delaye supported the radicalism of the Habyarimana regime.

"They always advised President Mitterrand to provide Rwanda with permanent and strong military, political and diplomatic assistance for the fight that Habyarimana was fighting with the RPF Inkotanyi."

French President Francois Mitterrand had sent two special envoys to Rwanda, Bruno Delaye and Jean-Marie Rochereau de la Sabliere on February 12, 1993.

"The purpose of their visit was to reconcile President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye as they did not agree on the cessation of conflicts and killings which were being committed by government soldiers and MRND members."

Proposed a hard line against RPF

As noted, on February 19, 1994, Quesnot and Dominique Pin who was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Africa in the Office of the President of France, presented two key views on Rwanda to President Mitterrand.

The first was against the idea of relocating French nationals and French troops who were in Rwanda in operation Noroît, as doing so would imply their country losing clout.

The second was about what France would do, in light of the RPF chances of taking over power. Quesnot and Pin argued that France should multiply its efforts to help the Habyarimana’s regime to prevent the RPF from taking over Kigali.

General Quesnot's priority to appeal for the criminal government was that he feared that Habyarimana’s government would lose power if they were defeated in the war, and hence it would be called "Tutsi land".

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