French judicial investigators have opened a full-scale inquiry into allegations of complicity in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, an official at the French public prosecutor’s office said on Monday.
According to agencies, French banking conglomerate, BNP Paribas bank, will be investigated for complicity in a transfer of $1.3 million to an arms dealer who supplied weapons to Rwanda over two decades ago.
This was despite a UN-imposed arms embargo against Rwanda.
These arms were used in the Genocide that left over one million people dead.
The full-scale inquiry follows a preliminary investigation that began earlier this year, when three non-government organisations filed a complaint on the matter.
The three NGOs; Sherpa, the Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda and Ibuka France.
The groups allege that one month after the U.N. implemented an arms embargo against Rwanda, the bank agreed to transfer the funds from the account of the National Rwandan Bank to a South African arms dealer's Swiss bank account.
According to the three organizations, the arms dealer then sold 80 tonnes of arms to Genocide architect Col. Theoneste Bagosora, who was at the time of the Genocide the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Defence.
Bagosora played a central role in the genocide and, in 2011, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
The bank, according to the groups, would have known "the destination of the funds and knew it could contribute to the ongoing genocide."