FRANCE’S INVOLVEMENT DURING THE GENOCIDE
During his interview by the MIP, he affirmed that he had had the feeling that the work of French gendarmes at the CRCD would be to register the Tutsis.
And, at the beginning of the genocide, the soldiers who moved from house to house to kill political opponents or distinguished Tutsis carried printed lists.
The gendarmerie had the area in numbers and logistics necessary for a good collection of information, and it had the software prepared by the French gendarmes.
A former cadre of the Central intelligence Service affirmed that his institution had never reached that level of organization.
There are also strong chances that these lists used at the beginning of genocide were made with the contribution of the PRAW.
During the days that followed the attack on President Habyarimana’s plane, Ambassador Martres urged Colonel Bagosora to take over power.
A year earlier, the latter had publicly announced that he was going to “prepare the apocalypse”. Thereafter, Martres gave his blessing to the formation of an interim government that brought together almost exclusively members of the Hutu power coalition.
And both Colonel Bagosora and almost all the future members of the interim government were known for their position defending a violent solution against those whom they accused of being internal accomplices of the RPF, the Tutsis in general and the Hutu opposed to Hutu power.
Colonel Bagosora is considered as the brain of the genocide, and the interim government its main organizer.
Bagosora and most members of the interim government have either already been sentenced for the genocide at the ICTR, or they are still on trial. Their positions were perfectly clear since before the genocide.
Without France’s support at the time, it is most likely that the extremist circles would have restricted their genocide action: “Obviously the akazus judged the world from the height of their local dictatorship, but they would probably have not deviated to that extent if they had known that it would lead to their total isolation on the international scene.
Thus, France unintentionally encouraged Rwanda’s final dive into a blood bath.” However, we have our reservation on the evaluation of the voluntary nature or not of this support.
France participated in the execution of the genocide
During the entire period of the genocide, France supported diplomatically and militarily the interim government which, to the knowledge of the whole world, in real time, was organizing and executing a genocide.
On the 27 April 1994, that is to say three weeks after the starting of the genocide, two envoys from this government, Jérôme Bicamumpaka, the minister of Foreign Affairs, and Jean-Bosco Barayagwiza, one of the CDR leaders, were received in Paris at the Elysée and at Matignon, whereas the United States and Belgium had refused them a visa.
They held discussions with French high ranking officials, especially the Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Alain Juppé, and Bruno Delaye, head of the African cell in the President’s Office.
On the 9 May 1994, General Huchon received Lieutenant-Colonel Ephrem Rwabalinda, adviser to the Chief of Staff of the FAR.
During their conversation, the two officers discussed “as a matter of priority”: “ - Rwanda’s support by France at the international political level; - the presence of French soldiers in Rwanda […] for assistance in the framework of cooperation; the indirect use of regular or non-regular foreign troops; […]” General Huchon promised to provide 105 mm ammunitions, ammunitions for individuals arms, as well as transmission equipment to facilitate the monitoring of secret communications between him and General Augustin Bizimungu, commander in chief of the FAR.
These communications were meant to be used in preparing France’s direct military intervention in Rwanda.
During the entire period of the genocide, French soldiers who remained in Rwanda fought on the FAR’s side. During that period, France continued to supply ammunitions and arms to the government section that was committing genocide.
Different deliveries from or financed by France are well documented for the months of April, may, June and July 1994.
In June 1994, when the FAR were about to be defeated by the RPF, President Mitterrand decided to intervene militarily in Rwanda by launching the Turquoise operation.
The main purpose of this intervention was to divide the country into two from Kigali, stop the RPF’s advance and force it to negotiate a power sharing with the genocidaire government.
Prime Minister Balladur opposed to the project, but above all, when the Turquoise landed in Rwanda, it was too late, the RPF had advanced too far.
During the pre-deployment briefing, the French military officers reversed the reality of the genocide by explaining to their soldiers that it was the Tutsis who were massacring the Hutus.
They were obviously trying defuse the difficulties that might have arisen when he would ask his soldiers to attack the victims.
During the first days of the Turquoise operation, this report shows very clearly that Colonel Rosier deliberately sacrificed the survivors of Bisero knowing very well that they were being massacred in an intense manner between the 27 and the 30 June 1994.
The Bisesero affair, dramatic as it was, because of the thousands of survivors killed during those three days, is nothing but the emblem of the global strategy of the Turquoise operation.
The analysis of the Turquoise action in the three prefectures that it covered, namely Cyangugu, Kibuye and Gikongoro, shows clear recurrences, that make it possible to detect a policy.
Upon their arrival, the French soldiers hastened to ensure the security of some enclaves like the camps of the survivors of genocide, Nyarushishi, or later on, Murambi, with a lot of publicity.
On the other hand, in the rest of the region, they collaborated with the prefectorial, communal and local authorities in organizing the extermination of their Tutsi population.
They left behind the infrastructures of genocide, namely the road blocks manned by the Interahamwe. They clearly demanded that the Interahamwe continue to control those road blocks and continue to kill the Tutsis who might try to move about.
They also clearly demanded that that the Tutsi who might try to sneak into the camps of displaced people be brought to them, and that the Interahamwe kill at least some of those Tutsis.
Almost everywhere in the three prefectures, they let the Interahamwe kill Tutsis under their eyes. The French soldiers committed many rapes, forced sexual relations specifically with the Tutsi survivors.
These sexual abuses that targeted the Tutsi survivors in particular were systemic, that is to say, frequent, tolerated and organized according to the norms and practices of the institution to which belong the people who commit them.
In this case it is a matter of a expression of the French soldiers aggression against the Tutsi survivors in the context of genocide.
The disgraceful conditions, especially nutritional, in which the survivors of genocide assisted by the French soldiers were kept, whether in the camp finally established at Bisesero, Nyarushisi or Murambi, forcing once again the survivors to risk their life by leaving the “protected” enclaves to look for something to eat, led to the death of some of them.
The refusal of medical care to women and young girls by some French military doctors in Kibuye and Cyangugu, as well as the abusive amputations in Goma, all this shows a clear hostility of the French soldiers against the Tutsi survivors, for the mere fact of their ethnic belonging.
These facts took place during the period of the Turquoise operation, that is to say from the 23 June to the 22 August.
Finally, whether it is in Gikongoro, Kibuye or Cyangugu, during the last days of the presence, the French soldiers carried out the policy of burnt soil. They ordered the local authorities to encourage the Hutu population to flee in large numbers to Zaïre.
Senior French officers in command positions held public meetings to directly encourage the population to flee. Finally, during the last days of their mission, the French encouraged looting and destruction of public infrastructures, they even took part.
Since October 1990, France supported the Habyarimana regime in its drifts, especially in committing acts of genocide before 1994.
She supported it in the preparations of genocide. From April 1994, France supported the interim government and the FAR who were busy committing total genocide in the face of the world.
France’s support was of all nature, political, military, diplomatic and logistic. And since October 1990, the Habyarimana regime, and thereafter that of the interim government, distinguished themselves by the massacres of the civilian Tutsi populations, non belligerent and most often far away from the ground of war operations.
Since 1990, those massacres are of no strategic use, nor do they have any practical justification. These are episodes of an ethnic war carried out against a civilian population, before moving, in April, into a war of extermination of that population.
At no time did France try to force her ally to more restraint, whereas the latter owed her everything in its war against the RPF.
There is no sign whatsoever of any attempt by the French political and military decision makers to bring to an end that war against the Tutsi civilians.
The persistence and determination of their support leads to ask the question of France’s real role in the preparation and perpetration of the genocide.
This persistence shows that the French political and military decision makers had made their own this war against the Tutsis.
The people who organized that military intervention from October 1990 to August 1994 are almost the same. It is easy to identify them.
During the Turquoise operation, payment for the genocidaire project by the French decision makers was more directly visible.
When on the 6 July 1994 France receives the United Nations Secretary General’s approval to create the “Safe Humanitarian Zone” (SHZ), on the entire area of this zone, she becomes an occupying force, and therefore holder of all authority.
Antoine Mindua explains that the SHZ is as a matter of fact a “security zone”, part of the territory “under the real authority of a belligerent or under the authority of a rival or allied party, on which the facts of arms are forbidden and which is supposed to provide shelter to the people under threat or at risk.”
By establishing the SHZ, the French army had assumed the full use of authority, to the exclusion of any other institution.
By deciding to keep and collaborate with the political and administrative personnel, with the people at hand and their infrastructures which had perpetrated the genocide during two and a half preceding months, by asking and/or letting them continue the assassinations of the Tutsis who in this context were constituent of the crime of genocide, often under their eyes, the French soldiers of the Turquoise operation and their partners took charge of the genocidaire project.
At the conclusion of its inquiry, the Commission found out that the French Government played an active part in the preparation and implementation of the 19994 genocide.
In view of the seriousness of the facts but also after taking into consideration the general context of the problem and its complexity, the Commission, in accordance with the law that established it, makes the following recommendations:
• The Commission requests the Government of Rwanda to reserve the right to lodge a complaint against the French Government for its involvement in the preparation and implementation of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda at the competent international judicial authorities.
• The Commission recommends to the Government of Rwanda to find a political settlement of the problem with the French Government in as much as the latter is prepared to accept the entire extent of its responsibility in the preparation and execution of the genocide in Rwanda and to undertake the relevant reparation measures in agreement with the Government of Rwanda.
• The Commission requests the Government of Rwanda to support any individual or collective action by the victims who may wish to lodge a complaint at the tribunals for damages caused by the actions of the French Government and/or its agents in Rwanda.
• The Commission recommends to the Government of Rwanda to make a wide distribution of this report.
• The Commission requests the Government of Rwanda to establish an authority for the follow-up of this problem.
END OF REPORT