The National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) highlights the involvement of French officials between October 1990 and April 1994.
Rwanda’s liberation struggle initiated by the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) on October 1, 1990 was an occasion for a series of commitments of French alongside HABYARIMANA’s regime that they would commit; four years later, the Genocide against the Tusi.
French officials were deeply involved in the genocide masterminding. Among them are Georges Martres (France’s ambassador to Rwanda from 1989 to 1993) and Jean –Michel Marlaud (France’s ambassador to Rwanda from March 1993to April 1994.
During MARTRES Georges regime, various engagements carried out between 1990 and 1993 show that he was perfectly aware of the preparation of the genocide against the Tutsi and that he knowingly supported the regime that was preparing to exterminate a part of its population.
In 1998, before the French Parliamentary Information Mission, George Martres acknowledged that he was aware of the impending genocide against the Tutsi since the end of 1990: “The genocide was foreseeable from that period (…). Some Hutus had the boldness to refer to it. Colonel Serubuga, then Deputy Chief of Staff of the Rwandan army, had hailed the RPF attack, which he said would serve as justification for the massacres of the Tutsi.
The genocide was a daily worry for the Tutsi. From the beginning of October 1990, thousands of people were imprisoned in Kigali, mostly because of their belonging to the Tutsi minority or just because they had sympathies or some shared interests with the Tutsi”.
The chief of staff of the gendarmerie, Pierre Celestin Rwagafirita, told General Jean Varret, the then head of military cooperation mission from October 1990 to April 1993, that Tutsi “They are very few, we will liquidate them”.
On 7thMarch 1993 there was a cease-fire agreement signed in Dar es Salaam between the FAR (Forces Armées Rwandaises) and the RPF. On 9th March 1993, the CDR accused Habyarimana and Prime Minister Dismas Nsengiyaremye of betrayal.
Like his predecessor, Jean-Michel Marlaud admonished the State of terrorism practiced by the Habyarimana regime but later demonstrated affinities with the Hutu extremist parties and involved in active execution of the genocide.
Before the French Parliamentary Information Mission on France’s actions in Rwanda, Jean-Michel Marlaud acknowledged that he received sufficient information on the impending genocide against the Tutsi: “This information comprised an additional element of the long series of alerts of which the Embassy was held concerned; the resumption of the offensive by the RPF one day, the beginning of a massacre next day.”
On 12thJanuary the chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of France in Kigali, Mr Bunel, who was under the orders of Ambassador Marlaud sent a telegram to Paris, citing the existence of plans a genocide against the Tutsi.
On 7thApril 1994, Jean-Michel Marlaud actively participated in training in the offices of the Embassy of France, of the interim government that was executing the genocide. He ruled out any meeting with personalities of the Hutu opposition like the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana, who nevertheless lived a few meters from the Embassy of France, or the appointed Chief of Staff General Marcel Gatsinzi who also had not condoned the genocide. Marlaud only collaborated with the killers.
The two French ambassadors to Rwanda between 1990 and 1994 were aware of the existence of the intent to commit the genocide. They deliberately allowed the situation to continue, providing valuable support and assistance to the regime that was preparing and executing genocide.
Dr Jean Damascène BIZIMANA, Executive Secretary of CNLG