Dr. Denis Mukwege announced he will not attend the meeting because the ideas he suggested should be discussed about were not put on the agenda. Mukwege is the one who brought the idea of the meeting and led to its implementation with the support of senator Gérard Longuet.
Pierre Gény, the Executive Secretary of the Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences (RAOS) was also expected in the meeting, withdrew his attendance following the decision of Mukwege to not attend it.
Vincent Hervouët, a journalist on the LCI channel who is notorious for offering a platform to genocide perpetrators and ideologists announced he would not be attending as well due to time limitations.
The theme of the meeting is “Africa Great Lakes region, 60 years of political instability.”
Two panel discussions will be conducted one focusing on history, 60 years of killings, torture, and crimes against humanity and the second one exposing individuals who perpetrated killings, torture, and crimes against humanity both in the affected regions in the Great Lakes and internationally.
The meeting was organized with the support of two French politicians including Alain Richard, former French Minister of Defense and Gerard Longuet who also served as Minister of Defense from 2011 to 2012.
The Rwandan community in France (Communauté Rwandaise de France, CRF) and IBUKA France have urged the French senate to condemn the meeting and call out all acts denying the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Among the guests are Judi Rever, a Canadian freelance print and broadcast journalist who is the author of many books denying the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. One of her books titled ‘In Praise of Blood, the Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front’ brought polemic, controversial disputes and received negative reviews from genocide scholars.
In attendance is also Jean Marie Vianney Ndagijimana, former Ambassador of Rwanda to France who has also gained notoriety for advancing the double genocide theory through his speeches and manifestos.
There will also be Charles Onana, a French journalist and author who also claims that there was no genocide between 1990 and 1994. He is currently under investigation for the denial of crimes against humanity.
Hubert Vedrine, a French socialist politician, and former President Mitterrand’s diplomatic advisor, and former Secretary-General of the French Presidency from 1991 to 1995 will also be attending the meeting. Mitterrand’s government vehemently supported the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.
The meeting was initially organized by Dr. Denis Mukwege who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. On the meeting’s agenda, Mukwege suggested to condemn the United Nations Mapping Report showing war crimes which were committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo between 1993 and 2003. After his suggestion was rejected, his secretary and La Croix newspaper announced he would not be attending the meeting.
Rumors that Gérard Longuet is the mastermind behind the meeting were not cleared.
Like all French senators, Longuet is allowed to organize one meeting per year at Palais Bourbon with no restrictions whatsoever, even from Gérard Larcher, the French Senate President.
Given that most of the people who will attend the meeting are genocide deniers, many people have voiced concerns on the fact that the meeting will be held on French territory especially at a critical time where France prepares to commemorate the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi on April 7th.
As stated in Decree No. 2019-435 of May 13th, 2019 that "The 1994 Genocide against Tutsi shall henceforth be observed and commemorated in France every year on April 7th."
In May 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the establishment of a body of genocide scholars and researchers led by Prof. Vincent Duclert which will assess the role of France during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. The report on the research will be published within two years and findings will be incorporated in History programmes and curriculum in France.