After almost two years of procedural legal battles between Rwanda Genocide survivors and French national Pierre Pean, the Paris prosecution has finally ruled that it will bring criminal charges against the author.
Pean is accused of having promoted racism and divisionism in his book, ‘Noirs Furueres Blancs Manteurs’ (loosely translated to mean ‘black furies, white liars’), published in November 2005, about the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
Former President of Ibuka –a Genocide survivors’ umbrella organization – Francois Xavier Ngarambe, confirmed the development yesterday.
“The Paris prosecution ruled yesterday (Wednesday) that Pean be prosecuted on promoting racism and, he will appear in the Cour Correctionnelle de Paris for those charges,” Ngarambe said.
Pean’s lawyers have for some years now been trying to block the prosecution on the basis that he as a journalist and researcher could not be held accountable for the material he published.
In his book, the Frenchman wrote that what took place in Rwanda was not genocide against Tutsis by extremist Hutus but rather the reverse.
In early 2006, Ibuka filed a petition against Pean, through SOS Racisme, an anti-racism rights organization, since French laws require that that a foreign organisation can only file a lawsuit in a French court after five years of operation on French territory.
“Despite the fact that the trial has not yet started in substance, we think this is landmark ruling because no other European country had ever taken negationism of the Rwanda Genocide as a criminal office,” Ngarambe, who was Ibuka president at the time the petition was filed, said. The Executive Secretary of Ibuka, Benoit Kaboyi, decribed the decision as an important step towards respect of the 1994 Genocide victims.
“I think we are half way the battle; we feel that at least our pleas were heard and we are now going to wait for the trial,” Kaboyi said.
Kaboyi said that at least one hundred victims of the Genocide signed petition forms and they would be represented by SOS Racisme during the course of the trial.
Ngarambe said that Pean is much more a politician than a journalist or researcher based on his book.