The Heads of State made the remarks on Sunday at a time when Rwanda is hosting a nine-day conference bringing together researchers from a French committee led by Prof. Vincent Duclert and counterparts from the University of Rwanda (UR) led by Prof. Mulinda Charles Kabwete.
Prof. Duclert’s committee reviewed official archives on France’s role during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and released a report indicating that France bears "heavy and overwhelming responsibilities" over tragic history that led to the Genocide which took lives of over 1 million victims.
Discussions between both sides are centered on the role of research in reporting the truth about Genocide against Tutsi.
The symposium serves as an opportunity to think and share ideas with a view to raise awareness regarding the history of the Genocide, how it was executed and stopped.
Prof. Mulinda said that the idea emerged when Prof. Duclert visited UR Huye Campus in August 2021 where both sides agreed to build partnerships in the area of research and preparation of international meetings.
In a pre-recorded speech, President Kagame welcomed participants of the first session of the international conference on the Genocide against the Tutsi. The next conference will be held in Paris, the capital of France in 2023.
In the speech that was visually aired President Kagame welcomed all who attended this first conference in regards to the Genocide of Tutsi that took place in Rwanda the following meeting will be in Paris in 2023.
He said that such a meeting bringing together French and Rwandan researchers, would have been almost unimaginable in the past.
However, the Head of State stated, both countries turned the page to a new chapter in their relationship being written with the historic visit of President Macron to Rwanda last year.
The President thanked Macron for his political courage and sincerity noting that his visit was made possible by the efforts of both countries to establish facts.
“Working entirely independently, using different sources and methods, the teams led by Professor Vincent Duclert, and Robert Muse reached conclusions that broadly reinforced one another. But those reports are not the last word. It is ultimately the task of professional historians and researchers to document the historical record for future generations,” he said.
Kagame commended the organizing committee led by Prof. Duclert and Prof. Mulinda for the hard work and acknowledged the funding form the French government which made the event possible.
French President, Emmanuel Macron said that holding these discussions on Genocide against the Tutsi is big move leading to the truth both countries want.
He said that the initiative complements the task assigned to Prof. Duclert in 2019 and his team of researchers to document his country’s role in the history that led to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Duclert’s report along with another one produced by Levy Firestone Muse LLP led to a new page for bilateral relations that had wavered.
Macron underscored that research on history must continue and commended Prof. Duclert’s team for their courage to carry on the work that lasted for three years.
He equally thanked the Government of Rwanda for having provided room for these discussions with a view to prevent reoccurrence of the tragic history.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Rwanda, Dr. Kayihura Muganga Didas, said that these discussions are paramount as they create a room for exchange of knowledge among researchers.
The conference runs from 11th to 19th September 2022.
Researcher Antoine Mugesera said that there has been a commendable progress to illustrate the history of the Genocide against the Tutsi but insisted that a lot still needs to be done.
He revealed that future research can go an extra mile to document the lives of Genocide survivors.
Mugesera extolled efforts by both countries’ leaders to restore relations which he considered a strong foundation upon which a shared vision should be entrenched.
Prof. Duclert also highlighted that collaboration among researchers is of utmost importance as it helps to desist propagandists with intentions to misinterpret and trivialize history.
The nine-day conference will feature different sessions on Rwanda’s resilience journey after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.