Kagame receives French Historian, Duclert

On 10 April 2021 at 09:16

President Paul Kagame yesterday received Prof.Vincent Duclert, who led the team of 13 researchers and historians that hat reviewed official archives on France’s role during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

“President Kagame today received French Historian Vincent Duclert, who presented the report titled ‘France, Rwanda and the Genocide Against the Tutsi’. The report was commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron, two years ago and was done by a team of 13 researchers and historians,” the Presidency has tweeted.

Prof. Duclert who arrived in Rwanda on 7th April 2021 has held exclusive talks with President Kagame were accompanied by Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr.Vincent Biruta and the Minister of Justice and State Attorney General, Johnston Busingye.

Prof. Duclert said he was glad to present to President Kagame, the report on France’ role during Genocide.

Duclert explained that the report is based on findings from reviewed archives related to Rwanda during Genocide.

Rwanda, France relations wavered in the past over the role France is accused to have played during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

As Rwanda began the 27th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, Macron granted public access to these official archives.

Minister Biruta said that Duclert report reflects the commitment of President Macron towards revealing the truth of what happened and highlighted that it provides ground for common understanding, which is a significant step to both countries’ relations.

President Macron appointed the 15-member commission in 2019, giving them access to presidential, diplomatic, military and intelligence archives.

The report by French historians revealed that France bears "heavy and overwhelming responsibilities" over tragic history that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi which took lives of over 1 million victims.

The report blames the then French President, François Mitterrand, for a "failure" of policy towards Rwanda in 1994. The findings were made public after years of French official secrecy over links to the Government led by Juvenal Habyarimana.

Among the archives are those of Mitterrand, who had close ties to former Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana.

As he delivered the message marking the beginning of the 27th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi; Kagame said that certain French officials have for decades tried to cover up their responsibilities (during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi) which caused significant damage and reminisced on the Duclert report which he welcomed highlighting that it marks an important step toward common understanding of what took place.

“Recently, a commission of historians appointed by the French government released a detailed report after reading official archives that had remained secret. The report shows that President Mitterrand and his closest advisers knew that genocide against Tutsi was being planned by their allies in Rwanda. Despite that knowledge, the president decided to continue supporting them, because he believed this was necessary for France’s geopolitical position. Rwandan lives were just pawns in geopolitical games,” he said.

“We welcome this report because it marks an important step toward a common understanding of what took place. It also marks a change, it shows the desire, even for leaders in France, to move forward with a good understanding of what happened, and we welcome this. We welcome this. We are going to have the report presented to us. I have been informed about it. It is a good thing,” added Kagame.

The President emphasized that Rwanda will, in the near future, release its findings going in the same direction with findings from Duclert report.

“Rwanda will also have a word to say in the near future, maybe around the third week of this month. The findings we have in our hands, based on the work that has been done by people who were commissioned to do that in parallel to what was being done in France — the findings go in the same direction. The important thing is to continue working together to document the truth. This is the truth,” he noted.

In November last year, Macron announced plan for a visit to Rwanda in 2021, aimed at strengthening existing bilateral relations.

“First of all, I am planning for visits to Angola and South Africa that had been suspended due to health conditions. I am hopeful that I will be able to make the visits within few weeks ahead and later visit Rwanda in 2021,” he told Jeune Afrique.

The date and month for the visit have not yet been confirmed but it is reported that the situation will depend on the status of COVID-19 pandemic.

Macron’s visit to Rwanda is expected before 18th May 2021 because France plans to host France-Africa investment summit in which over ten African head of states are invited.

In 2019, Macron was invited to Rwanda to attend the 25th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. At the time, Macron sent the delegation of France parliamentarians including Sira Sylla and the French Rwandan born Member of Parliament, Herve Berville.

In May 2018, President Paul Kagame invited Macron as he attended Viva Technology Summit that brought together CEOs of different technology start-up companies and potential innovators in Paris, France.

Macron was again invited in October 2018 after the General Assembly of the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF).

At the time, Kagame told RFI and France 24 that Macron was invited to visit Rwanda since he took office in May 2017.

Rwanda, France relations have been on good progress since Macron took office in 2017.

The latter has demonstrated willingness to change France, Africa foreign policy and building strong relations with partners unlike his predecessor, François Hollande.

President Kagame recently told Jeune Afrique that there has been progress to both countries’ relations since Macron was elected in comparison with the past.

Rwanda, France diplomatic relations date back in 1962 after obtaining Independence.

If he comes to Rwanda, Macron will be the second French president landing in the country of thousand hills after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

Nicolas Sarkozy is the only France president who visited Rwanda on 25th February 2010 following the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.

President Kagame receiving Duclert report. Photo Village Urugwiro