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New revelations on François Mitterrand’s support for Habyarimana’s government

By IGIHE
On 12 January 2024 at 01:19

Vincent Duclert, an esteemed historian and expert on genocide, has once again delved into the contentious involvement of France in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. In his recent revelations, he underscores the support of then-French President François Mitterrand for the Habyarimana government, which prepared and executed the genocide.

Duclert’s dedication to researching this topic becomes apparent as the thirtieth anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi approaches, as reported by Le Point on January 11, 2024. As the Director of the Center for Sociological and Political Studies Raymond-Aron and an expert in the Dreyfus Affair, Duclert shifted his focus to the Genocide against the Tutsi in 2016 after initially concentrating on the Armenian genocide.

Under Emmanuel Macron’s presidency in 2019, Duclert was appointed to lead the Commission for Research on French government’s official archives regarding Rwanda and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The commission’s 2021 report brought to light France’s heavy responsibility in the tragic events.

In his recent book, titled ’Le grand scandale de la Ve République’ translated as "The Grand Scandal of the Fifth Republic," Duclert exposes France’s distinct policy toward Rwanda. He identifies Mitterrand’s major mistake as a deliberate ignorance of the genocide’s planning and influence on the implicated government, citing purported valid reasons.

Duclert emphasizes that France’s presence in Rwanda since 1962 contradicts the perception of it being the ’Switzerland of Africa.’ Instead, he reveals a country governed by a regime prone to discrimination, corruption, and violence.

One crucial aspect highlighted by Duclert is the cooperation between the French and Rwandan armies, which took various forms, intensifying between 1990 and 1993 with the deployment of French troops to Rwanda. He contends that France’s involvement extended beyond the military realm to the political arena, with between 10,000 and 30,000 Rwandan soldiers trained during this period.

Duclert argues that France was in a position to intervene before the climax of the genocide but failed to do so. He points out that fundamental questions were avoided, and the responsibility for non-recognition of the genocide lies with France.

Regarding the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), Duclert outlines France’s perspective, criticizing Mitterrand’s regime for perceiving the RPF as an enemy despite warnings. Even when the genocide was identified early on, French operations Amaryllis and Turquoise generated confusion and conflicting orders rather than actively aiming to halt the genocide.

Duclert’s scrutiny extends to French actions in the Bisesero region, where contradictions arose in perceptions, further complicating the response to the genocide.

In June 2021, the Duclert Commission visited Ibuka and other organizations representing survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi.

Duclert expressed his commitment to continue seeking the truth even after the end of his work, stating that his report provides a solid foundation for understanding the events.

Close friendship between former French President François Mitterrand and Juvenal Habyarimana was also reinforced through reciprocal visits.
Vincent Duclert, an esteemed historian and expert on genocide, has once again delved into the contentious involvement of France in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
Duclert has underscored the support of then-French President François Mitterrand for Habyarimana's government, which prepared and executed Genocide.

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