On April 19, 2021, the Rwandan government released a report that found France responsible for the genocide in Rwanda that left as many as 800,000 dead in 1994.
The report found that France was complicit throughout and even after the genocide, and they “did nothing to stop” the genocide. The French government was aware that genocide was to come, yet it continued to support the then-Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana.
The report found that France was involved because the “French officials armed, advised, trained, equipped, and protected the Rwandan government, heedless of the Habyarimana regime’s commitment to the dehumanization and, ultimately, the destruction and death of Tutsi in Rwanda,” all in the years prior to the genocide.
Not only were the French acted as an accomplice to the genocide, but they “covered up its role, distorted the truth, and protected” perpetrators. “The French Government bears significant responsibility for enabling a foreseeable genocide,” the report mentioned.
The 600-page report was produced by Levy Firestone Muse, a Washington law firm. The report relied on various sources such as governments, non-government organizations, documentaries, videos, news articles, and more than 200 witnesses.
The Rwandan government report proceeds another similar report released by the French Commission in March that also found that France had been ignorant of genocide and bears responsibility for it. The Duclert Commission released its report in March 2021 after a two-year investigation into France’s role in the Rwandan genocide between 1990 and 1994 and the Tutsi genocide.
The French report concluded that the French bear “overwhelming responsibilities” to the genocide; and that France was responsible due to their “political, institutional, intellectual, moral and cognitive failure.”
Additionally, the commission acknowledged and provided a list of its shortcomings, including: “lack of coordination powers and absence of effective checks and balances”; “political [and] institutional responsibilities, both civilian and military”; “parallel chains of communication and even command”; “bypassing the rules of engagement and legal procedures”; “institutional abuses covered up by the political authority or in the absence of political control,” “an ethnicist reading” of the Rwandan condition.
The implications of the reports are that France can adjudicate criminal and civil cases against the suspects who allegedly participated in the genocide and are found in France. In addition, France give provide foreign assistance to Rwanda in the future, especially insofar as Rwanda wants to overcome the adverse effects of the genocide.