French President Emmanuel Macron for the first time acknowledged France’s responsibility for the genocide in Rwanda, during which about 800 thousand people were killed from April to June 1994.
Macron said, speaking at the Genocide Memorial Center in the Rwandan town of Gisozi, that “ France has played its role and bears political responsibility for the events in Rwanda.”
Paris also has a duty to face history and acknowledge that it has caused suffering to the Rwandan people by allowing itself to remain silent for a long time in the truth exam, “he said.
Macron asked for forgiveness from the people of Rwanda.
France opened archives dating back to the 1994 Rwandan genocide on April 7. The report of the research commission, which is more than 1 thousand pages long, was presented to Macron on March 26.
The Commission concluded that France “remained blind to the preparations” for the Rwandan genocide. However, according to historians, “nothing proves” that Paris was complicit in the genocide.
In 1994, in Rwanda, unknown persons shot down a passenger plane carrying the country’s President, Juvenal Habyarimana, and the head of neighboring Burundi, Cyprien Ntaryamira. The deaths of two leaders at once were used by Hutu extremists as a pretext for seizing power in Rwanda, which was the beginning of the genocide against the smaller Tutsi ethnic group and moderate Hutu politicians.
From April to June 1994, about 800,000 people were killed — the vast majority of Tutsis, as well as moderate Hutus, Twa, and others.