Findings of the inquiry into the role of France in the 1994 Rwanda Genocide conducted by a commission led by Jean de Dieu Mucyo are being made public today. Commission officials have been tight lipped, resisting various appeals by the nosy media to release the said findings.
The inquiry exercise was commissioned in April 2006 with the initial mandate of only six months. That time was never going to be enough because it turned out that a lot had been done, so blatantly too, later necessitating double renewal of deadlines.
After 18 months of intensive investigations, pin-point interrogations, voluntary dissemination and the subsequent thorough corroboration and scrutiny, the report was ready in October 2007.
Wondering why government has taken close to 10 more months before making the report public? Politics and diplomacy could be the reason. Kigali might have looked at the report and found it damning.
Now, even in exceptional cases such as the French’s whose involvement in the massacres was either arrogantly or naively in broad daylight you wonder why any investigations were necessary, giving diplomacy chance for the umpteenth time was not illogical.
We do not know what exactly is contained in the Mucyo Report. But Rwandans do remember the horrors in a film they watched, produced by the BBC in March 1995 under the Bloody Tri-Colour title.
ORINFOR and Ministry of Justice may want to consider a re-screening, this being a special moment, a culmination of the process of not only compiling but cementing evidence against France’s steadfast unacknowledged role in the 1994 orgy of killing.
The world has also heard a Belgian Colonel testifying that on the night of April 5, 1994, UNAMIR intercepted a French plane-load of arms and ammunitions at former Kanombe, now Kigali International Airport, destined for Forces de Armee Rwandaise.
Having said that of the Mucyo Report, it is important to remember that whereas it marks the end of a worthy exercise, it can also mean the start of another battle.
If France chooses to downplay the report’s findings, Rwanda should fight to give it all the limelight it deserves.
On the other hand, if the ‘mighty’ European nation comes out all guns blazing against us, likely to be in a sneaky manner given the glaring evidence, Rwandans should be fully prepared to defend the right to expose the criminals. There is going to be no compromise.