The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has released a document that details the role of 22 senior officers within the French armed forces in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
The document, a result of extensive research by the commission, was released yesterday, and comes shortly after another that pinned different French diplomats that were accredited to Kigali between 1990 and 1994.
CNLG executive secretary Jean-Damascene Bizimana said it was within the commission’s mandate to undertake such research work to uncover the truth on what happened before, during and after the Genocide.
“Like sometime back, we showed the role of French diplomats, this time we decided to tackle the role of their military in the planning and execution of genocide in Rwanda,” Bizimana said.
According to the document, the 22 officers, who include Generals at the echelons of France’s armed forces at the time, were either directly involved in the Genocide in which more than a million people were slaughtered, or complicit.
Among the officers are two Generals, who were heading the French armed forces, whom the report implicate in sustaining direct support to the genocidal government.
The two are Gen Jacques Lanxade and Gen Christian Quesnot, who were at different instances chiefs of staff to former French President Francois Mitterand.
Lies of ‘tribal conflict’
Laxante, who went on to become chief of staff of the French army, was informed of the state-sponsored killings of civilians, but maintained that the killings were a tribal conflict.
“In 1991, Jacques Lanxade paid a visit to Rwanda. During this visit, (he) was informed of the massacres committed by the FAR on Bagogwe in Ruhengeri, but maintained the presence of the French instructors,” the report reads in part.
During an interview, Bizimana stated that the report puts more emphasis on individual roles to the culmination of the massacres, from the special military advisers of the former French President Mitterrand to officers deployed on ground in Rwanda.
“For example, in the research, we have shown how a certain Lt Col Michel Robardey, who remains an avid Genocide denier, masterminded the drawing of lists for the Tutsi to be killed,” Bizimana said.
“He is also known to have set up the notorious “criminology,” a facility renowned for torture, and he himself coordinated some violent interrogations and tortures that claimed lives.”
The latest document, according to Bizimana, is progressive and aims at demonstrating the role of former French army top brass, although more of the likes are in the pipeline and are supplementary research work to the 2008 Mucyo Report and 2010 Mutsinzi Report.
The 2010 Mutsinzi Report was an inquiry that focused on the shooting down of President Juvenal Habyarimana plane.
The Mutsinzi probe, named after former Chief Justice Jean Mutsinzi, concluded that the missile that shot down Habyarimana’s plane was fired from the defence of the former government forces.
Other reports have pinned the French for a role in the shooting down of the plane, owing to the fact that there was a heavy presence of French troops in the defences of the Ex-FAR, specifically at the current Kigali International Airport, in whose environs Habyarimana’s plane was shot from.